Tourism Development Corporation launches community-based tourism workshop
In a bid to drive more tourism entrepreneur opportunities, the Tourism Development Corporation(TDC) recently launched a community-based tourism workshop at the University of The Bahamas (UB).
Under the theme, “Empowering Bahamians, Encouraging Entrepreneurship,” the TDC collaborated with UB to present a business model that could create community based tourism throughout The Bahamas.
“It’s all about entrepreneurship and creating entrepreneurs within the community that are going to benefit from what assets there are in that community,” TDC Executive Director Janet Johnson said.
“It’s bringing enlightenment in the community and showing a new and refreshed face to tourism and going into those heritage communities such as Fox Hill, Bain and Grants Town, Adelaide and looking for the assets that they have and trying to get people to understand that those are what people want to see.”
UB Professor of Sustainable Tourism Dr. Vikneswaran Nair, who has vast experience in spearheading the development of rural tourism in Southeast Asia, made a presentation on community-based tourism and its implications for tourism development in Bahamian communities. His presentation was followed by a question and answer session.
“The biggest take away is that we need to take a step by step approach. We have to first prepare the community for what tourism is all about, then we develop the product and in the final stage, we do all we can to sustain the product,” Dr. Nair said.
“I see the interest that is coming out of this program. I think if you give young people the opportunity, they can be more innovative than their parents. We need the youth to be a part of this thrust toward community-based tourism.”
Johnson said that plans are underway to launch community-based tourism pilot workshops in two communities: Bimini and Bain Town. Similar workshops will be rolled out in other islands.
“We have to have the toolkit that would be adapted for The Bahamas and each individual island because their characteristics are all so different. It’s going to be a labor of love and we are going to enjoy the deep dive that we have to do to come up with the formula that’s going to work for The Bahamas,” she said.
“TDC is ready to get on with the work that’s required.”