What is the goal of your innovation?
Linking tourism to conservation, cultural heritage and sustainable rural development in communities bordering conservation areas and unique cultural sites in Uganda through rural community training.
How does your approach support or embody geotourism?
Every country has something to offer in terms of its geographical character thus using tourism as a commodity which today’s tourists are seeking. Local people can offer their heritage, traditional culture and natural sites appealing to visitors with diverse tastes and interests.
Community based tourism in its widest form covers all kinds of activities and attractions found in rural areas, which are mainly, or incidentally, for tourism purposes.
Community tourism also promotes other income generating activities such through handicraft production, traditional performances, and community guiding and homestead hospitality. Also using the non-consumptive principle, communities can be supported to run community tourism enterprises by providing services like community campsites, scenery viewing points and picnic sites among many others.
The people are directly involved in decision making, contributing their time, money, labour, skills for the benefit of their homesteads and communities.
People are being empowered from new ideas coming into the communities and equipped with skills and knowledge to create wealth, better homes, improved environment, health, enriched tourism product, increased household incomes, and revival of local artisan skills.
The idea covers programs such as, agricultural tourism, cultural tourism, Heritage trails 0 development of scenic and historical sites and trails, diversifying Uganda’s tourism product, expanding the range of local livelihood options, and sustainable rural development.
The objective of the program include supplementing incomes of rural homesteads with tourism, promoting local people’s traditions and cultures and creating a new tourism product that has potential to reduce rural poverty but is not yet harnessed.
Describe your approach in detail. How is it innovative?
The COBATI approach is a unique innovation in that a homestead is identified, selected and mentored to host visitors, share with them their lifestyle through activities such as; traditional entertainment, local cuisine, educate them on their local cultures and indigenous knowledge and skills through a variety of activities. Through COBATI networks, tourists are directed to the communities. We are training local people and linking them to opportunities in tourism. This approach brings economic tourism opportunities, which are especially important in rural areas where few opportunities exist.
Participating communities are encouraged to form village development funds that support community development projects. They are managed by well organized community groups. It is a mutually beneficial relationship for both communities and tourists.
Our tourism product involves visiting rural villages, engaging with the living culture and provides many opportunities for participation by local people who are left out of mainstream tourism in Africa.
COBATI, aware of the shift in global tourism, as tourists become more independent, environmentally and socially conscious and travelers move to sustainable models that preserve culture and environment; offers unique experiences that can increase understanding and build strong relationships. These endeavours enhance the human condition.
What types of partnerships or professional development would be most beneficial in spreading your innovation?
Joint community ventures, private-public partnerships in the tourism sector, community private sector partnerships, Government support, Tourism Philanthropy ventures, Fair trade organizations, women empowerment organizations especially women in handcrafts training and export. Grant financing, technical expertise, tourism, and micro financing
Professional development through networking on :
- Accommodation in local villages
- Curios/souvenirs through recycling/waste management
- Environment education
- Code of conduct
- desktop printing
- community tour guiding
- trial development
- establishing/developing CBT handbooks, guidelines, and standards modules
- marketing/promotional materials
- management of village development funds