This community model involves local communities surrounding the different tourists sites to benefit from the tourism activity within their vicinity . This is through encouraging the locales to participate in the different tourism activities like cultural dances, drama, folklore or teaching tourists how to prepare local dishes, and traditional medicine.
This method of communal development was recently applauded at the just-concluded World Tourism Day festivities in Mumbai, India. This method was presented by Clarence Fernandes, the Rwanda Development Board representative in Mumbai. According to his speech, the model is greatly contributing to community development and general improvement of living standards for all participating locales.
He further explained that 5% of the revenue received from tourist attractions the government gives to surrounding communities is in terms of services like schools, health centers as well as road management and maintenance.
With the introduction of the community tourism model, even former poachers and their families have been organized into co-operatives that engage in community and cultural tourism, especially in areas surrounding the national park in the western and southern provinces. This has assured them of sustainable sources of income, and also attracts cultural tourism enthusiasts.
According to Elsie Gabriel, founder of Young Environmentalists Programme Trust, part of the event organizers, emphasized the need to develop the communities, who are affected directly or indirectly by tourism activities and how the various stakeholders can contribute to such development.
Delegates who attended where from Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa, Belgium, Reunion Islands, Oman, Thailand and Vietnam attended the event.