For tourism to be sustainable the core beneficiaries must be local communities, asserted Sarah Schwepcke, as she spoke about inclusive tourism at Mekong Tourism Forum 2016, July 6.
GIZ’s Southeast Asia Lead for Responsible & Inclusive Business Hubs delivered a presentation entitled “Destination Mutual Benefit: Building the Case for Inclusive Tourism”.
There are both business and development benefits to be reaped from true sustainable and inclusive tourism, she said. On the business side there is quality and innovation while on the development side communities can look forward to careers and the benefits of conservation.
“Inclusive business models are not a form of charity,” Ms Schwepcke said.
In the context of tourism, inclusive businesses outsource services such as laundry, transport, and guiding to local individuals and businesses. They source groceries from local farmers and market gardeners. And they buy artwork, souvenirs, soaps, and other tangible products from local artists, artisans and manufacturers.
Inclusive business models maximise the retention of tourism income within host communities, she said.
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Presentations from Mekong Tourism Forum 2016 are available for download here.