Describe the degree of success of your approach to date. Clearly define how you measure quantitative and qualitative impact in terms of how your approach contributes to the sustainability or enhancement of local culture, environment, heritage, or aesthetics? How does your approach minimize negative impacts?
200 words or less
The program has been successful in several ways:
(i) Increased Economic Benefits to Rural Communities:
• Homestay numbers increased from 8 to 100 + in 15 sites
• Revenue per household ranges from $ 150 to $ 300+ (average annual income $ 400)
(ii) Minimized Negative Cultural Impacts of Tourism:
• Participation by villagers, operators, NGOs has resulted in culturally sensitive Homestays
• Codes of conduct address issues of privacy and appropriate behaviour (by all parties)
(iii) Reduced Environmental Impacts of Tourism & Preserved Natural Heritage:
• Reduced fuel wood consumption via solar cookers & boiling of drinking water
• 10-15% of profits go to a Conservation Fund that supports activities like tree plantation, garbage management, creation of a grazing reserve for the threatened Tibetan Argali and a livestock insurance program
(iv) Reduced Retributive Killings of Predators:
• The income helps offset losses from livestock depredation & SLC-IT takes a commitment from all providers to not harm wildlife, especially snow leopards
The program’s success is largely related to regular monitoring:
• Feedback forms and periodic visits have increased Homestays’ ratings from 50% showing satisfaction initially to over 80% rating it as excellent by 2006.
• A Photo Voice evaluation method showed that most women providers (who comprise the majority) felt the income had significantly changed their lives – most use it to send their children to better schools.