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Community Tourism Niche Markets

Community_Style_Tourism_1 Community Lifestyle Tourism
  • Network/Villages as Businesses

Community Tourism and Community Development – Training Project Rationale

Tourism is a continuing growth industry with the potential to offer communities of all shapes and sizes unique development opportunities. 

Tourism is widely recognized for creating and sustaining jobs, and bringing new money to an area. 

It is undoubtedly important at a national level, particularly in terms of employment, foreign exchange, and international trade. However, what it means for individual communities can be and often is quite different. Every citizen cannot only be aware of its broad benefits but also have the opportunity to participate directly in and benefit from tourism.

Community Tourism was created and developed to assist communities in realizing the direct benefits of tourism in their own environment. It is an integrated approach that embraces all aspects of a community and also encompasses many growing special interest markets -- Cultural, Heritage, Eco, Educational, Recreational, Spiritual, Adventure, Health, and Agro-tourism, among others.

Attention to Community Tourism can reinvigorate Sometimes regarded as an alternative type of 

tourism, Community Tourism is in fact an enrichment of it and often works closely with the traditional resort and tour products.

The Benefits of Community Tourism Niche Markets Development are:

• Access To International Markets

• Boosts Local Businesses through Access to Market

• Direct Foreign Exchange Earnings

• Local Employment & Entrepreneurship

• Potential Development of Export Market for local goods

• Building of Community Pride 

• Unveiling Research and Knowledge of Community

• Sustaining Heritage & Culture

• Sustaining Natural Environment

• Limits Rural Push

• Funds and Volunteers for Social Development 

• Cross-Cultural Sharing

The Potential for Growth with Community-based Tourism Niche markets Community Based tourism is where the entrepreneurship is to develop and promote over 40 niche markets which will result in direct business opportunities for community entrepreneurs and has great potential to both reinforce and widen the economic benefits of tourism and to provide tangible incentives for indigenous community improvement and economic development. 

The International Institute For Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) has branded Jamaica ‘The Home Of Community Tourism’ and the IIPT Caribbean and CCTN has now branded The Caribbean – the Home of Community tourism.

In particular, local and international visitors are increasingly interested in having a “community 

Lifestyle experience” as part or all of their vacation. Visitors are also expressing interest in being educated on the way of life and in learning about Caribbean cuisine and culture in certified courses during their stay. Examples of some of the main niche markets are post office tourism, cultural heritage tourism, graveyard tourism, church tourism, educational tourism, village tourism, roots tourism, health & wellness tourism, spiritual tourism, agri-tourism, eco-tourism.

Hotels and tour companies, such as Sandals Resorts International, Island Routes, Tropical Tours, 

Glamour Destination Management and Leisure for Pleasure Vacations and Tours in Jamaica, Caribic Vacations are responding to this growing market internationally. Interest and support is also coming from the Caribbean Diaspora, including Making Connections Work UK/’Diaspora Connect 2022, the National Association of Jamaican and Supportive Organizations ( NAJASO) who have endorsed the Countrystyle Villages as Businesses programme.

Despite this supportive context, the growth of Community Tourism in the Caribbean has been slow. The number of villages and community members seeking community tourism training and marketing assistance is growing. However, relatively, few communities are ready to benefit from the industry and faster progress is being made elsewhere - therefore, the Caribbean needs to focus more on the training of communities in basic hospitality skills and community tourism but funding remains a challenge. 

In addition to this, the cost for providing Public Liability Insurance is too high but if they get coverage as a group, this would make it affordable for 36 villages 

The Coronavirus crisis since March 2020 is providing an opportunity now for tourism players and governments to focus on community development through tourism to prepare communities in the protocols required for participating as entrepreneurs within their own environment. For example, Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism has recently announced the focus on community tourism with the settling up of a Community Tourism Unit within the Ministry of Tourism to work together with communities and organizations. It is hoped that this development will be a bottom-up one to play a facilitating role to support viable community niche market projects and businesses.

Authentic community experiences developed and directly driven by and for the sustainable

development of the host communities and residents are what is required.

by Diana McIntyre Pike, O.D., BSc, Founder/President, Countrystyle Community Tourism Network/Villages as Businesses

Contact - 876-507-6326

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