“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” – Psalm 133:1
One of the enjoyable experiences in writing my weekly column is the feedback from readers which leads to content for another column.
Last week was no exception. “Thank you Basil for this great article on community tourism and hope you will do another one on the importance of the Villages as Businesses (VAB programme for sustainable development of communities for Jamaica and the world and which (is) now supported by the Diaspora as Community Economic Tourism,” responded Diana McIntyre-Pike, President/Founder at Countrystyle Community Tourism Network/Villages as Businesses.
Goal number 16 of the 17 United Nations Millennium Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.
Rotary International (RI) is a leading international service organization which brings together business, professional and community leaders to promote – among many other values – peace in the world.
February 2022 is Peace & Conflict Resolution month in the RI calendar.
Tourism, by definition, brings people together. Community tourism cements relationships at the grassroots level and establishes a foundation on which to build unity and sustainable tourism.
It was reported in the media last week that “the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is supporting communities as they prepare to welcome visitors back (after COVID-19) and realize the potential of tourism to kickstart recovery and drive sustainable and inclusive growth.”
“As restrictions on travel continue to be steadily eased or lifted, UNWTO is shifting its focus from supporting its members as they mitigate the impacts of the historic crisis to rethinking tourism’s longer-term role in building resilience and providing opportunity,” the report read.
UNWTO promotes communities as the centrepiece of tourism’s future.
In January 2015, McIntyre-Pike penned an article on the objective and purpose of the Countrystyle Community Tourism Village programme, which rests in the fundamental vision of Countrystyle to empower and develop communities, on a sustainable basis; dynamically marketing and exposing their natural culture, talents, passions and potential to the world; and packaging each individual community as a unique destination (product) within their general destination.
In September 2020, former St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, himself a proponent and visionary of village tourism, lauded the village tourism project in Anse la Raye as an initiative focused on driving community tourism, while encouraging tourists to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of the destination. The objective is to create new employment opportunities for local St. Lucian entrepreneurs and existing businesses owners in rural communities. Village Tourism provides an authentic experience, while integrating tourists into the fabric of the local economy.
This project was supported by the Government of St. Lucia and the Caribbean Development Fund towards the development of quality community infrastructure which will see the upgrading of the tourism services provided by the local village community.
Here are seven systematic generic steps to expedite Village Tourism projects and propel them on the journey to sustainable success: (1) Recruit a shepherd (life coach and business mentor) – guidance; (2) Establish the value proposition – what you promise to deliver to your clients; (3) Define governance systems – sound foundation; (4) Foster partnerships with government, UNWTO, funding organizations, Rotary clubs and the private sector – financial security; (5) Recruit marketing and PR expertise – brand image enhancement and revenue generation; (6) Hire leadership and management personnel – high productivity, cost containment, profitability; and (7) Embrace workforce development – sustainability.
Let us take advantage of this opportunity to establish unity and peace among our people, across our villages, and the entire world.
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is a Change-Engine Consultant. His email address is email@example.com. His columns may be found at www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com