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What is Community Tourism
Considering the Potential Gain to Stockholders
Planning Tourism with Communities and other Stakeholders
Developing Viable Community-based Tourism Products
Strenghtening Benefits to the Community  and the Environment
  Managing Impacts
  Providing Technical Support
  Obtaining the Support of the Visitors and the Tour Operators
  Monitoring Performance and Ensuring Continuity
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

Managing Impacts

There are two types of impacts to be managed in development of a community. These are the social and the environmental impacts. Dealing with the former, especially as it relates to tourism, can be very difficult. Over the years, Jamaicans have been socialized to “smile for the tourist.” This action has been encouraged, by Government officials in an effort to encourage more tourists to come to Jamaica thereby increasing earnings from the sector. s

Research is showing, however, that there is deep resentment to tourism not just from people who live and work in resort areas but also from many well-educated and well-placed Jamaicans who do not come in contact with the average tourist. (Dunn and Dunn, 2002, Hayle, 2002) There are a number of causes for this reaction. In an effort to foster a clear understanding of some of the underlying issues in tourism a few of these are highlighted below:

  • The Caribbean has always depended on one crop for its economic fortunes. At first it was sugar, then bananas and now it is tourism. Due to the origins of most of the visitors, a poor understanding of the workings of the tourism systems and the incorrect use of words, many Caribbean people say that tourism reminds them of the colonial era.
  • Words such as “tourist”, “host” and “guest” help to foster this resentment.
  • The word "tourist" to many means a Caucasian who comes to the Caribbean either from the United Kingdom or the United States. The former representing the colonial past. Tourist, in fact, means anyone who is away from his/her permanent place of residence for 24 hours and up to 12 months not for the purpose of employment. For example a Jamaican who goes from Kingston to Bluefield for 2 days on a vacation/business is a tourist.
  • Host. This word connotes accommodating someone for free or for a nominal sum and being as nice as possible to him/her regardless of his/her behaviour.
  • Guest. This word has a similar meaning as “Host” As a result, both words appear to trigger negative reactions in the minds of many. Hence, the debate about tourism being used as a vehicle through which servitude is perpetuated.
  • In order to shift the paradigm from perceived servitude to “real” service it is recommended that words should as “receiving community” and “client” be used instead of “host” and “guest”.
  • In an effort to create an environment in which a service culture can thrive, it must be emphasized that the receiving community offers a service to its clients for which it is paid. In return, the receiving community is expected to treat its client like a guest providing value for money. The value of the exchange can be determined in many ways including the use of rating scales such as 1, 2, 3 stars etc. The objective is for the receiving community to treat the visitors so well that they will remember the experience and wish to repeat it several times.

In the case of the environment, specific steps should be taken within the community to minimize the environmental impact and maximize the local benefit of tourism. Attention to detail in a number of aspects of both the development and operation of tourism projects can significantly improve the condition of the environment while increasing the profitability of the business. The environment has become a very strong marketing tool for the tourism sector.

The architecture of the area is a reflection of its culture. Therefore, the design of all new buildings should be carefully considered and local professional advice sought in their construction. Failure to use professionals can result in the loss of lives as well as financial loss due to negligence and/or cost overruns. Poor building design and construction can dilute the quality of the product by detracting from its ambience. Sometimes in local communities it may be better to use existing buildings rather than to create new developments. Decisions in this respect should be taken based in the advice of professionals.

In response to Agenda 21, the blueprint for Sustainable Development, the World Travel and Tourism Council created a framework designed to help the industry foster sustainable practices in its operations. Some of these are reduced consumption of water and energy, waste and pollution, low energy technologies appropriate to the location, recycling and careful selection of transportation used in the placement of the product.

The Jamaica Tourist Board in conjunction with the University of the West Indies should conduct, on a regular basis, visitor and resident satisfaction surveys to determine the mental and physical well-being of the community and the status of Jamaica’s tourism offering. The findings from such analyses will indicate product quality levels.

PIOJ document - Guidelines for South Coast Project -
prepared by Carolyn Hayle

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