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Tourism in Poor Rural Areas Diversifying the product and expanding the benefits in rural Uganda and the Czech Republic

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PPT Working Paper No. 12
Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
Diversifying the product and expanding the benefits in rural
Uganda and the Czech Republic
Jenny Holland, Michael Burian and Louise Dixey
January 2003
1
PPT Working Paper Series
9 Strengths and Weaknesses of a Pro-Poor Tourism Approach, Results of a Survey to
Follow-Up Pro-Poor Tourism Research Carried Out in 2000-2001, by Dorothea Meyer
10 Methodology for Pro-Poor Tourism Case Studies, by Caroline Ashley
11 Strategies, Impacts and Costs of Pro-Poor Tourism Approaches in South Africa by Anna
Spenceley and Jennifer Seif
12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas: Diversifying the Product and Expanding the Benefits in
Rural Uganda and The Czech Republic, by Jenny Holland, Louise Dixey and Michael Burian
13
Coping with Declining Tourism, Examples from Communities in Kenya
,
by Samuel
Kareithi
14 Addressing Poverty Issues in Tourism Standards, by Dilys Roe, Catherine Harris and Julio
de Andrade
15 Improving Access for the Informal Sector to Tourism in The Gambia, by Adama Bah, and
Harold Goodwin
16 Tourism to Developing Countries: Statistics and Trends, by Dorothea Meyer, Dilys Roe,
Caroline Ashley and Harold Goodwin (forthcoming)
17 Outbound UK Tour Operator Industry and Implications for PPT in Developing
Countries, by Dorothea Meyer
These working papers, produced under the title 'Lesson-Sharing on Pro-poor Tourism', are the result of a collaborative
research project carried out by the PPT Partnership. The PPT partnership is comprised of Caroline Ashley (ODI),
Harold Goodwin (ICRT) and Dilys Roe (IIED). They are funded by the Economic and Social Research Unit (ESCOR)
of the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
2
Contents
1 Introduction................................................................................................................................3
2 Importance and challenges of tourism in rural areas.............................................................5
3 Different approaches to rural tourism.....................................................................................9
3.1 Agri-tourism, farm tourism and rurally-located tourism......................................................9
3.2 Policy motives: rural growth, tourism product development.............................................10
3.2.1 Rural tourism as a motor of growth.......................................................................10
3.2.2 Rural tourism to enhance or protect the tourism product.......................................11
4 Promoting rural tourism in the Czech Republic...................................................................12
4.1 Tourism economics and policy post 1989..........................................................................12
4.2 The context of a transition economy ..................................................................................13
4.3 Initiatives to develop rural tourism....................................................................................14
4.3.1 An initial project to lay the groundwork................................................................14
4.3.2 Heritage Trails (HT)...............................................................................................15
4.3.3 Materials and standards for rural tourism products ...............................................17
4.4 Progress, challenges, impacts, and critical factors.............................................................18
4.4.1 Progress and challenges .........................................................................................18
4.4.2 Key obstacles and ingredients of success..............................................................21
5 Development of rural tourism through Heritage Trails in Uganda ....................................23
5.1 Background: tourism trends; policy and rural tourism objectives .....................................23
5.2 The Heritage Trails Initiative .............................................................................................24
5.3 Progress, challenges, impacts and key factors...................................................................28
5.3.1 Progress and challenges .........................................................................................28
5.3.2 Obstacles and success factors ................................................................................31
6 Implications for Developing Rural Tourism..........................................................................33
6.1 Key Issues...........................................................................................................................33
6.2 Can rural tourism contribute to poverty reduction? ...........................................................35
References.........................................................................................................................................37
List of Tables
Table 1: The gap between requirements of tourism and characteristics of rural areas........................7
Table 2: Growth of Tourism in the Czech Republic 1991–2000 .......................................................13
Table 3: Number of guests identifying accommodation through ‘A Countryside Holiday
Guidebook’...........................................................................................................................18
Table 4: Community associations and attractions on the Kabaka‘s Trail..........................................26
Table 5: Heritage Trails Uganda Project Activities...........................................................................26
List of Boxes
Box 1: ECEAT CZ – European Centre for Eco Agro Tourism..........................................................12
Box 2: Heritage Trails........................................................................................................................16
Box 3: Making a Heritage Trail.........................................................................................................17
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
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1 Introduction
As many as 75 per cent of the world’s poor live in rural areas
1
. Top tourism destinations,
particularly in developing countries, include national parks, wilderness areas, mountains, lakes, and
cultural sites, most of which are generally rural. Thus tourism is already an important feature of the
rural economy in these specific sites. It is self-evident that tourism will never come to dominate all
rural areas, particularly in the developing world – there are vast swathes of rural areas for which
tourism is not relevant for the foreseeable future. Between these two extremes are poor rural areas
with some tourism potential, and an urgent need to develop whatever economic potential they have.
Thus, an important question is whether more can be done to develop tourism within such rural
areas, as a way of dispersing the benefits of tourism and increasing its poverty impact.
The aim of Pro-Poor Tourism (PPT) is to increase the net benefits to poor people from tourism, and
increase their participation in managing the tourism product. If more tourism can be developed in
rural areas, particularly in ways that involve high local participation in decisions and enterprises,
then poverty impacts are likely to be enhanced. The nature of rural tourism products, often
involving small-scale operations and culturally-based or farm-based products, can be conducive to
wide participation. Tourism can also bring a range of other benefits to rural areas, such as
infrastructural development and spin-off enterprise opportunities. This paper thus assumes that
strategies to further develop rural tourism can be one part of a pro-poor tourism agenda.
However, developing rural tourism has its challenges. Any successful tourism development,
whether pro-poor or not, depends on commercial, economic, and logistical issues, such as the
quality of the product, accessibility and infrastructure of the destination, availability of skills, and
interest of investors. In most of these aspects, rural areas may well be at a disadvantage compared to
urbanised and more developed areas. These challenges may be compounded by political and
institutional obstacles, particularly in developing countries, i.e. the administrative complexity of
dealing with low-populated areas, the lack of policy co-ordination between rural development and
tourism development, and low priority provided to rural areas by central governments. Thus, ways
to deal with these challenges are needed.
Rural tourism takes many different forms and is pursued for different reasons. There are
developmental reasons to promote tourism as a growth pole such as for regeneration following
agro-industrial collapse, or diversification of a remote marginal agricultural area into adventure
tourism or cultural tourism. Other reasons relate more to development of the tourism product such
as diversifying a country’s image, or alleviating bottlenecks in popular sites. There are big
differences in approach between Eastern Europe and Africa (the two areas of focus in this paper)
due to their economic legacy and context. But in both, rural tourism is seen as one means to assist
rural economies with the transitions they are facing in order to thrive in a more liberalised economy.
The purpose of this paper is to explore strategies for expanding tourism in poor rural areas. It draws
on an overview of the likely challenges and motivations involved in promoting rural tourism, and
on two new case studies from the Czech Republic and Uganda, complemented by insights from
other rural tourism initiatives elsewhere. It does not focus on rural tourism at well-established or
high-value sites (such as gorilla habitat, famous mountains or reserves), but on bringing tourism
into wider rural areas.
1
IFAD (2001:15) estimates that 75% of the 1.2 billion people living on less than one dollar a day live and work in rural areas.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
4
Section 2 outlines the importance and likely obstacles of rural tourism, thus sets out the key
challenges on which practical lessons are needed. The paper does not seek to provide a
comprehensive review of international experience of rural tourism approaches, but Section 3 briefly
provides some key background on different types of approaches, thus providing distinctions and
definitions for the discussion. In particular, it outlines the differing context for rural tourism
strategies in Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.
Section 4 reviews initiatives in the Czech Republic to establish Heritage Trails, focusing initially on
Southern and Northern Moravia, while Section 5 reviews the development of cultural sites and trails
in Ugandan villages in the traditional kingdom of Buganda. The motivations, institutional
processes, practical steps, progress and obstacles are identified. The final section returns to the
themes of challenges and strategies in order to identify useful lessons for pro-poor tourism
strategies more generally. This paper does not provide an economic and social impact assessment of
the development of rural areas into a tourism destination. While such an assessment is urgently
needed, considerable new research is required to inform it
2
.
2
This is an important gap in our knowledge of rural tourism and pro-poor tourism. Most assessments of the impact of tourism in the
development literature focus either on the macro level (for example at national level on contribution to foreign exchange or total
employment), or on the micro level (for example, impacts of one lodge or one enterprise). Given that the ‘destination’ is the key level
at which development takes place and impacts are maximised in tourism, destination level assessment is needed to understand
poverty impacts.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
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2 Importance and Challenges of Tourism in Rural Areas
Rural areas are heterogeneous. The definition of a rural area is problematic in the literature – most
people know a rural area when they see one, but few agree on a definition in a few sentences.
Debates aside, common features of rural space are (Ashley and Maxwell 2001):
spaces where human settlement and infrastructure occupy only small patches of the landscape,
most of which is dominated by fields and pastures, woods and forest, water, mountain and
desert
places where most people spend most of their working time on farms
abundance and relative cheapness of land
high transaction costs, associated with long distance and poor infrastructure
geographical conditions that increase political transaction costs and magnify the possibility of
elite capture or urban bias
For the purposes of this paper, key features that make rural areas relevant to pro-poor tourism
development are their poverty and lack of economic opportunity, combined with the agricultural
and/or scenic and/or cultural nature of the area, which provides a tourism asset.
The aim of ‘pro-poor tourism’ is to increase the net benefits to poor people from tourism, and
increase their participation in the development of the tourism product. From this perspective, there
are three main reasons why it is important to develop tourism in rural areas:
i. Increase participation of the poor in the development of tourism
While the percentage of poor people in urban areas is increasing, there are still more in rural
areas
3
, both in total numbers as well as a proportion of the population. One key opportunity of
involving more of the poor in tourism is to develop tourism enterprises where they live. This is
not to say that the poor will necessarily own an enterprise, or even provide the labour, just
because it is located in a rural area, but location is a first step. Furthermore, two strengths of
tourism for increasing participation are that a) because the customer comes to the product (not
vice versa), there are more opportunities for expanding the range of transactions; and b)
tourism usually involves a wide range of enterprises, i.e. the small and informal as well as the
well-established or multi-national (Ashley, Goodwin and Roe 2001). One advantage specific
to rural tourism is that the nature of the product often involves enterprises that feature local
ownership such as bed and breakfasts (B&Bs), home visits and farm stays.
ii. Bring wider benefits to rural areas
Rural areas generally suffer high levels of poverty, and are also characterised by lower levels
of non-farm economic activity, infrastructural development, and access to essential services.
They may also suffer from depopulation of the able-bodied
4
, and lack of political clout.
According to Gannon (1994) and Kieselbach and Long (1990) the development of tourism can
help address several of these problems through:
3
Although poverty is becoming urbanised, it is estimated that the majority of the poor of developing countries will be in rural areas
until at least 2020. IFAD projects that over 60% of the poor will be rural even in 2025 (IFAD, 2001: 15)
4
Depopulation refers to young, skilled workers moving out, to leave a largely unskilled, elderly population in the rural area. It is a
critical issue in much of Eastern Europe, and in many sub-Saharan African countries.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
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economic growth, economic diversification and stabilisation;
employment creation, as primary source of income but most importantly secondary source
of income;
reduced out-migration and possibly re-population;
maintenance and improvement of public services;
infrastructural improvements;
revitalising crafts, customs and cultural identities;
increasing opportunities for social contact and exchange;
protection and improvement of both the natural and built environment;
increasing recognition of rural priorities and potential by policy-makers and economic
planners
5
.
iii. One option among few
Manufacturing industry gravitates to areas with good transport links, infrastructure, and
commercial skills. Rural areas usually have few sources of comparative advantage for
attracting economic activity other than agriculture or industries based on harvesting natural
resources (mining, forestry) (Wiggins et al. 2001). Tourism is one of the few sectors that can
be suitable to remote or non-urban areas, provided that there is sufficient access for tourists.
Because there are few other options, its value to the poor can be particularly high
6
.
As outlined in the next section, the combination and form of these different benefits varies
enormously between places. However these and other reasons mean that expanding tourism into
new rural areas can make policy sense. There are also practical reasons why doing so may appear to
be a relatively ‘easy’ option. The nature of rural tourism products and clientele may mean that
relatively basic facilities suffice, which are easier to develop than high quality resorts. There may
well be assets in rural areas (man-made structures, culture, nature) that can be readily adapted for
tourism development.
Tourism development can also have negative impacts on residents. In rural areas, displacement of
people from their land and competition for other natural resources such as water, forest, and wildlife
are likely to be the key trade-offs. Pro-poor strategies should therefore focus on minimising
negative impacts as well as exploiting potential benefits.
However, any assessment of the key features of successful tourism development, and the key
characteristics of rural areas leads to the hypothesis that developing tourism in rural areas faces
major obstacles. Table 1 lists some of the requirements of tourism, and shows how rural areas may
be less likely than urban areas to be able to meet most of them.
5
Nicanor (2001), reviewing community-based tourism in Namibia identifies that community based organisations play a vital role in
lobbying and advocacy, thus providing a voice for marginalised groups. The low political priority afforded to rural areas may be
more of a problem in developing countries, where farming has traditionally been taxed to support the urban classes and modern
sectors, than in Europe, including Eastern Europe, where rural and agricultural issues often gain considerable political support.
6
As identified in earlier PPT case studies in Amazonian Ecuador ( Braman and Fundación Acción Amazonia 2001) and Namibia
(Nicanor 2001).
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
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Table 1: The gap between requirements of tourism and characteristics of rural areas
Common requirements for tourism
development Common characteristics of rural areas
A product, or potential product
Variable. May have a high-value unique selling
point, may be an attractive desired location for
travellers from cities, may have little to offer.
Access – transport infrastructure, limited
distance, limited discomfort Distant from cities, poor roads, few
trains/buses/planes
Investment in facilities Limited access to financial capital, affordable
credit and private investment.
Skills in service, hospitality Low skills (skills migrate)
Regular and quality inputs, e.g. of food
and other supplies Undeveloped commercial production, distant from
markets
Marketing skills Distant from marketing networks
Clustering of tourism products to create a
‘package’ holiday Lower concentration of tourism products in one
place
Government investment Low priority for governments, particularly
tourism/trade ministries, particularly in sub-
Saharan Africa
While it is possible to highlight a number of obstacles that are common to rural areas, this is not the
case when considering the tourism attraction itself. Some rural areas have such strong products,
such as mountain gorillas, well-endowed wildlife areas, stunning wilderness, that the quality of the
product can compensate for other problems, and act as an incentive for the industry and tourists to
overcome them. Others areas, however, may be characterised by vast expanses of agricultural land
(perhaps marshy or highly arid), be topographically featureless, and lacking distinctive cultural
and/or historical features. These areas are unlikely to develop a successful product even if the other
obstacles are addressed, unless a well-resourced private or public investor spots an opportunity
7
.
But for many rural areas, developing rural tourism will require a combination of developing an
attractive product, and overcoming the other challenges, such as accessibility and availability of
skills. Good marketing and fast transport links can turn a pleasant area into a popular short-break or
excursion destination.
Most of the obstacles listed above are commercial, economic and logistical. They can be addressed
through investment of time and resources, although it cannot be done everywhere. However the
institutional and political problems are important to note, as they can assume great importance in
rural areas. Although tourism today is generally a private-sector industry, a degree of government
support, in terms of investment, appropriate regulation and marketing, can be key. In some
countries rural tourism is already well recognised by policy makers as an important economic
strategy. In others, particularly in Africa, support for tourism in rural areas may be limited because:
Where tourism is planned within a tourism ministry, or a tourism and wildlife ministry, the
institutional mandate is likely to be in expanding the national tourism product, rather than
the growth potential of poor areas. Thus the focus is more likely to be on attracting
investment, developing the main destinations, marketing them, and often also on data
gathering. If the policy objective is expansion of tourism investment and arrivals,
particularly of international tourism, the fastest returns may come from a focus on existing
resorts and urban areas, where tourists, assets and skills are concentrated. That said, there
7
It is not impossible to develop a standard area, or even an unattractive one, into a product with sufficient investment. Sun City, the
most popular resort in South Africa, is a ‘creation’. Cancun was built in a mosquito–infested swamp. While these attractions receive
large amounts of visitors, i.e. 40% of international arrivals to Mexico visit Cancun, they are exceptional and highly geographically
concentrated developments.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
8
may be commercial reasons to invest in rural products, such as product diversification, or
political pressure to expand economic impacts to poor areas (see Section 3).
Rural development planners and extension workers are unlikely to focus on tourism, which
is entirely alien to their agriculturally-focused professional training
8
.
Lack of communication between government departments, or inconsistencies between
policies, that occur in the capital city can be greatly magnified in rural areas. Administrative
boundaries, reporting structures and mandates can impede collaboration.
Rural areas may have little political priority across government offices, not just in the
tourism ministry. Given the added costs of investment in rural areas, and the lower per
person returns given lower population density, a policy to redistribute resources to rural
areas is likely to require a strategic political choice (Start 2001).
Even if political will is sufficient, there are administrative challenges to making things
happen in rural areas given lower population densities, poorer infrastructure, more junior
government staff, lower levels of skills and commercial activity.
The situation may be quite different in some countries, particularly in Europe, where tourism is
more often under the Ministry for Economic Affairs, and where the main mandate is 'growth' in
addition to the other cornerstones of economic development. At the same time tourism planning and
development in rural areas often falls within the Ministry for Rural Affairs, or under decentralised
government bodies (Federal States, Counties) which combine rural planning and tourism planning.
Thus while the National Tourism Boards have a marketing mandate, planning happens elsewhere
with a clearer growth and/or rural development focus.
Thus in reviewing the experience of the Czech Republic and Uganda, the paper aims to identify
how the different institutional, commercial, and logistical challenges have been dealt with, and how
the various benefits have been pursued. More specifically, several advantages of, and challenges to,
rural tourism have been hypothesised. Have these advantages and challenges been encountered in
the case studies? Given that at this stage we can learn more about the process than the impacts, key
questions to ask of the case studies are how they have dealt with potential obstacles and how they
have:
developed the rural product
ensured sufficient quality of facilities and inputs
developed marketing capacity and increased visitor numbers
dealt with other practical challenges such as accessibility of transport, availability of credit or
investment
built institutional capacity and sufficient political support to resource and develop rural tourism
8
A case study from the north of Selous Game Reserve, in Tanzania, argues that wildlife tourism and its contribution to rural
livelihoods is below potential, partly due to lack of articulation between those with tourism, rural development and conservation
mandates (Ashley, Mdoe and Reynolds 2002 ).
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
9
3 Different Approaches to Rural Tourism
This section makes some distinctions between different types of rural tourism and policy objectives
relating to them. It lays the basis for understanding the objectives and contribution of the two case
study initiatives, taking place in the different contexts of Eastern Europe and sub Saharan Africa.
3.1 Agri-tourism, farm tourism and rurally-located tourism
Rural tourism can be taken to mean farm tourism or agri-tourism, but both are sub-components of
tourism in rural space:
Agri-tourism is when the purpose of the visit has a specific agricultural focus such as being with
animals, enjoying a vineyard.
Farm tourism is when accommodation for rural tourists is provided on farms. The core activity
is in the wider rural area (walking, boating) but the vast majority of visitors are accommodated
on farms, either working farms or farms converted to accommodation facilities.
Rural tourism, or rurally-located tourism, can include the above but also campsites, lodges,
safari drives, craft markets, cultural displays, adventure sports, walking trails, heritage sites,
musical events indeed any tourist activity taking place in a rural area.
In Europe, farm tourism plays an important role in rural tourism. For example, in some rural areas
in East Germany (an example being Wittow on the island of Rügen), 80 per cent of accommodation
is provided by working farms or farms that have been converted to accommodation facilities. In
African rural areas there are some commercial guest farms and the emerging equivalent of home
stays in traditional huts, but tourists often stay in purpose-built tourism accommodation (from
luxury lodges to campsites) while visiting rural areas.
There is evidence that farm tourism generates proportionately higher benefits than other tourism
using purpose-built accommodation in a similar area
9
. However, the relative benefits and also the
costs of adapting farms for tourism purposes have often been evaluated incorrectly. The investment
required to upgrade facilities can be high, and so can the marketing investment to service a number
of fragmented non-experienced part-time entrepreneurs. Returns can be low given low occupancy
rates and high seasonality.
Poland’s experience since the early 1990s provides a case in point: rural farm-based tourism was
seen as a cheap form of tourism that would utilise existing spare capacities in farm houses and
small, unsophisticated catering facilities. However, investment needed was grossly underestimated
(McMahon 1996), given that tourists demand creature comforts including adequate sanitary
facilities. This was a high investment burden for generally small-scale farmers. Furthermore,
marketing costs and the set-up of marketing networks co-ordinating a large number of small-scale
entrepreneurs were added expenditures that were initially not foreseen. As a consequence farm
tourism was far from a cheap option as was initially thought. Although rural tourism in Poland is
thriving, the government has realised that the returns are very low and that a main constraint is the
large number of small-scale stakeholders that need to be co-ordinated and marketed (MacMahon
1996).
9
A study by Slee, Farr and Snowdon (1997) analysed the impacts of soft tourism (tourism accommodation provided by locals in for
example farms) and hard tourism (accommodation provided by externals such as time-share companies) on the local rural economy
in Scotland. They found that a much higher proportion of expenditure remains locally or in surrounding areas when soft tourism
providers are used (68.5% of expenditure), compared to hard tourism providers (only 25.3% of expenditure remains in the local or
extended area).
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
10
3.2 Policy motives: rural growth, tourism product development
3.2.1 Rural tourism as a motor of growth
Strategies to use tourism as a motor of growth in rural areas emerge in different contexts. They are,
at heart, about enabling rural producers to reduce reliance on agriculture, and engage in new
economic opportunities that are competitive in the more globalised markets, which now reach their
doorstep (or farm gate). In Eastern Europe, the emphasis has been more on tourism as a tool for
rural regeneration following agricultural collapse, while in Africa, the emphasis is more on
diversification of under-developed areas.
Regeneration in the face of agricultural decline
In Europe, tourism has long been considered a catalyst for regeneration of rural areas, particularly
where traditional agrarian industries are in decline (Williams and Shaw 1998, Hoggart, Buller and
Black 1995). Studies of rural tourism are predominantly set within a European (including Eastern
European) or North American context, focusing largely on domestic visitors and economic
restructuring. Farm facilities and infrastructure (such as basic transport) are in place, thus the
strategy is to adapt them for tourism purposes, market the rural attractions, and draw clients,
particularly domestic visitors, from the cities. There is evidence that in Europe rural tourism has
made important contributions to rural incomes both at the level of the individual farmer and more
widely in the local community (ETB 1991). While not necessarily substituting for agricultural
income, it has delivered supplementary income and inter-sectoral linkages.
This approach to rural tourism has received priority attention in Eastern Europe since the fall of the
iron curtain and the collapse of communism. The need for rural regeneration has been immense. In
the early 1990s countries in Eastern Europe needed to respond quickly to previously unknown
circumstances: high levels of industrial closure, a loss of Soviet-controlled markets, break down of
the non-competitive and over-staffed agricultural sector and consequently high unemployment,
price inflation and diminishing living standards. High unemployment due to privatisation of large-
scale agricultural co-operatives, coupled with a new freedom to move to urban centres severely
depopulated rural areas. At the same time the level of domestic travel was seriously reduced due to
financial constraints, a thirst for the outside world, and loss of financial subsidies for previous forms
of 'social' tourism. Interregional travel, on which former Eastern Bloc countries depended heavily,
was reduced to a minimum.
At the same time, interest by Western visitors in previously unseen countries and attractions
increased drastically. The early 1990s were characterised by large-scale, short-stay tourism,
especially from Germany, to formerly closed-off countries such as the Czech Republic. Although,
the overwhelming demand was initially for urban destinations, such as Prague, rural tourism made
sense since Eastern Europe is generally more rural than Western Europe (in terms of levels of
urbanisation, and socio-cultural characteristics). Rural areas in the East should be able to offer an
appealing product to the West if appropriately developed and promoted. Furthermore, rural areas
were in dire need of regeneration and means to operate in a market economy.
Rural diversification of under-developed areas
In developing countries, the language of policy-makers focuses more on diversification than
regeneration of the rural economy. In this context, the problem is not so much the structural
collapse of agriculture, but the insufficiency of agricultural livelihoods, and the search for new
sources of growth and economic opportunity. Smallholder farming is facing growing constraints
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
11
(both in terms of local resource base and international competitiveness, Ashley and Maxwell 2001)
and cannot meet the needs of a growing population. The last decade has seen consensus that social
investment alone cannot reduce poverty, and that growth is essential. This applies equally to rural
areas, despite their lower comparative advantage; thus attention is crystallising on the dilemmas of
how to promote the non-farm rural economy (Start 2001).
In this context, tourism is promoted as a new activity, which is supplementary to agriculture.
Although building on existing assets where possible, it is not a matter of simply switching existing
infrastructure to a new purpose. New assets and infrastructure are invariably needed. Tourism is a
means of bringing the concomitants of economic development (infrastructure, communications,
services) to an under-developed area. There are of course some rural areas that have already been
transformed into ‘destinations’, sometimes involving depopulation of large parts in the process: e.g.
in Africa, the Massai-Mara in Kenya, the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, the Okavango Delta in
Botswana and Kruger National Park in South Africa are well-known examples.
3.2.2 Rural tourism to enhance or protect the tourism product
Tourism development planners may share the growth objectives outlined above, or may be subject
to increasing political pressure to show their contribution to them. Even where tourism is run by a
separate ministry with its own agenda, demonstrating and expanding the impact of their industry
can be an important goal. A tourism ministry will have to demonstrate its contribution to national
development plans and to poverty targets, to compete for scarce government resources.
In addition, there are other reasons for promoting rural tourism that relate to development of the
tourism product, and this is quite different to the poverty-rooted objectives of promoting rural
development. These are nevertheless important motivations to understand as they influence wider
institutional support for rural tourism.
Enhancing the tourism product
An important objective for tourism planners is to diversify the tourism product (e.g. the
development of culture, adventure tourism) with the aim to encourage visitors to stay longer and,
ideally, spend more, and/or to develop a more distinguishable destination identity. These ‘new’
features of the rural product can provide the basis for a revised marketing programme (for example
bird-watching in Uganda). Such niche products may well be promoted in quite isolated rural areas,
sold as ‘off the beaten track’ rather than the more developed agricultural areas. Or they may be
proximate to cities and resorts, in order to provide add-on excursions. Thus they have relevance to
different types of rural areas.
Dispersion to protect tourism assets
Another objective of tourism managers, and one shared by conservation professionals, may be to
disperse tourists away from existing ‘honeypots’. There may be many good reasons to encourage
concentrations of tourism activity in one area – such as to limit negative impacts spreading more
widely, to take advantage of economies of scale, or optimise different land uses. But at times it
becomes necessary to take pressure off key sites, particularly if resources are being over-used or if
limits to capacity in peak season are being met. This requires dispersing tourists geographically,
including into surrounding rural areas.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
12
4 Promoting rural tourism in the Czech Republic
This section looks at initiatives undertaken by a non-governmental organisation to develop rural
tourism in the Czech Republic, in a fairly non-supportive policy environment. While the scale of
rural tourism resulting is fairly small so far, the process highlights many of the institutional and
practical challenges, with particular reference to a post-communist transition economy.
4.1 Tourism economics and policy post 1989
The early 1990s produced a boom in tourism for Prague, as the city’s architecture and rich culture
were ‘rediscovered’ by Western Europeans curious to visit a country formerly hidden behind the
Iron Curtain. The country’s struggle during the Prague Spring in 1968 and its charismatic leader,
Vaclav Havel’s role in that struggle, increased the fascination of the city as a tourist destination. As
a result, Prague became a synonym for the Czech Republic and the tourism boom brought US$ 4
billion per annum to the state budget (Czech Tourist Authority 2000) with almost no marketing and
promotion. While tourism revenue generated by Prague has been estimated at 60 per cent of total
Czech tourism earnings, the city captures over 80 per cent of the total earnings since many
companies are registered in Prague, although operating elsewhere.
In the early 1990s, tourism was the responsibility of the Ministry for Economic Affairs with the
overriding objective to facilitate economic development. Little attention appeared to be paid to
strategic development of a long-term, comprehensive tourism policy. Although the Czech Tourist
Authority was established, its budget was relatively limited, less than US$ 400,000 per annum. A
proposal made to the Ministry for Economic Affairs by the European Centre for Eco Agro Tourism
(ECEAT CZ) to develop alternative forms of tourism in rural areas was rejected on the basis that
‘alternative’ tourists were not ‘big spenders‘ and this would therefore not be an economically viable
market segment to develop (ECEAT CZ).
Box 1: ECEAT CZ – European Centre for Eco Agro Tourism
ECEAT CZ is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental Czech organisation. ECEAT CZ is a member of
the Europe-wide ECEAT network, ECEAT International
ECEAT CZ’s main aims are:
to support sustainable rural development through small-scale, environmentally-friendly tourism
to create new job opportunities for village people
to enhance the experience and knowledge of village entrepreneurs (education, information, materials,
quality control etc.)
(source: www.eceat.org)
During the 1990s, the structure of tourism to Prague changed considerably. The first boom of
curiosity gave way to the cheaper end of the market, i.e. cheap package deals and student trips. At
the same time competition from other Eastern European destinations such as Budapest increased.
Although the number of inexpensive package arrivals continued to increase, total visitor numbers
started to decrease marginally by the late 1990s, and total revenue declined markedly. Coupled with
the increasing costs of maintaining and developing infrastructure, the ‘Prague product’ began to
falter. Table 2 illustrates the impressive growth (in terms of arrivals and income) until 1996
followed by a subsequent decline.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
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Table 2: Growth of Tourism in the Czech Republic 1991–2000
1991 1992 1993 1994 1996 1998 2000
Foreign arrivals (million people) 51 69 72 101 109 103 104
Foreign exchange income ($US billion) 0.7 1.1 1.6 2.0 4.1 3.7 2.9
Source: Ministry of Regional Development, Tourism in the Czech Republic and Czech Tourist Authority, Annual
Report 2000
Notes: 1.Comparable statistics for years before 88-90 are not available 2. Tourists account for approx 50% of total
arrivals. 3. 1993 Czech and Slovak Republic separated
With problems emerging in Prague, and the European Union (EU) focusing on the economic
development of rural areas, the attention given to rural tourism increased towards the end of the
1990s. The ‘National Development Plan’ developed for the EU accession agenda, included a plan
for countryside development (‘Programme for Countryside Renewal’). One of the EU funding
criteria was that projects proposed under this plan had to be submitted by villages associations.
Most funding was directed towards basic infrastructure, e.g. sewage reconstruction. Tourism
development was initially just a small part of this programme, with cycle tracks being the main type
of investment. Other more immediate priorities dominated, and a lack of access to credit to renovate
or build new accommodation meant that small-scale tourism entrepreneurs were discouraged from
participating in the programme. Nevertheless, tourism was one element of the Countryside Renewal
Plan and since 2000 there has been an increasing trend to develop new products, in addition to
improving infrastructure. Furthermore, since 1996 theresponsibility for tourism development moved
from the Ministry of Economic Affairs to the Ministry for Regional Development.
4.2 The context of a transition economy
Prior to the collapse of communism, the service sector (and hence the tourism industry) in the
Czech Republic was weakly developed. The universal right to work, common to all ex-communist
countries, favoured employment in heavy industries and/or collective agriculture. Neither private
ownership of enterprises nor NGO activity was permitted.. As in the rest of Eastern Europe, since
the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1990 the economy underwent rapid transition, most notably the
collapse of the primary sector and consequently rising unemployment. Between 1980 and 2000, the
contribution of secondary industries to the GDP fell from 63% to 43%, while the contribution of
tertiary industries increased from 30% to 53% (EBRD STAS).
For rural workers access to new forms of employment was hampered by the reduction, or absence,
of previously subsidised transport. Even with new foreign investment, salaries remained low with
the additional burden of non-subsidised transport costs. For many, paid employment offered lower
remuneration than unemployment benefits. This lead to resentment and frustration in rural areas.
In Hungary, the most open of the Eastern Bloc countries in the 1970s and 1980s, a basis for tourism
and entrepreneurship had already been laid. Despite the general collectivist ideology of
communism, in some sectors of the economy, including tourism, individual ownership and
entrepreneurship were permitted under 'market socialism'. Foreign investment, ownership, and joint
ventures were allowed, and western tourism facilities were developed. As a result, the country
emerged as one of the leading destinations for West Europeans in the 1990s.
The Czech experience has been very different, resulting in two different but important implications
for tourism development. Firstly, there was no basis of private entrepreneurship in tourism. Private
ownership was not permitted during the ‘communist’ years, leading to the absence of
entrepreneurial skills and also the complete lack of private investment capital. Thus, the creation of
local quality products became a challenge. Secondly, there was a very strong feeling against the
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
14
notion of ‘partnerships’, or working together as embodied in collectivism, in the Czech Republic
when the Soviet control broke up. New found, and permitted, individualism, a new competitive
environment, and the legacy of state control using fellow citizens, lead to an initial distrust of both
fellow members of society and the state. Degrees of mistrust also had particular implications for
rural tourism, given the co-ordination issues that emerge in product development and marketing.
Rather than collaborating on product development and marketing, the neighbour was seen as the
‘competitor’.
4.3 Initiatives to develop rural tourism
Despite the Ministry of Economic Affairs’s initial rejection, ECEAT CZ decided to continue to
push for the development of tourism in rural areas. Since 1995, four different (though overlapping)
approaches have been taken to achieve this:
An initial programme from 1995 to 1998, ‘Tourism at the Service of Rural Development’
(TSRD) to start building capacity, skills and products;
A project to develop ‘Heritage Trails‘ in rural areas, from 1998 to 2000;
Production of a rural tourism guidebook and other materials;
On-going political engagement, including further expansion of the Heritage Trail materials and
approach.
4.3.1 An initial project to lay the groundwork
Tourism at the Service of Rural Development (TSRD) started in 1995 and had three sub-themes:
Institutional Capacity, Training in Tourism Skills and Product Development.
Institutional capacity: The first step in the project was to develop an understanding of the needs,
strengths and weaknesses of all potential partners (government, private sector and civil society) in
implementing a long-term tourism strategy. Capacity building was carried out in five regions, all of
which were later to develop Heritage Trails. This involved a series of one-day motivational
seminars
10
exploring the potential for partnerships between local governments, entrepreneurs and
NGOs. This focused on the understanding of potential mutual benefits arising from joint action, and
hence changing attitudes towards adopting sustainable rural tourism development. The seminars
formed the basis for co-operation and supported the Heritage Trails initiative when it started in
1998.
Training in tourism skills was initiated to serve two aims, a) to increase the quality of service
provision and b) to raise tourism awareness. It was felt that residents of Czech villages were both
suspicious towards outsiders and as well as unaware of the tourism potential of their surroundings,
and thus uncertain about proposed tourism developments. Furthermore, participating in democratic
decision-making processes was alien to many villagers due to the previous political context and
structures. ECEAT CZ’s initiative involved a skills development programme which included group
work, training and the publication of the book ‘Jedou k nám hosté’ (‘Guests are coming! or the
guide to becoming a rural tourism entrepreneur’) describing the experiences of entrepreneurs who
had been successful in their sustainable tourism activities. One-day seminars for beginners were
financed by local or district governments.
10
Financed by Prince of Wales Business Forum
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
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Training focused not only on standards for accommodation and service provision but also on the
care for, and the protection of, the village’s natural assets. For many villages in rural areas, the
main, and often only asset, is their relatively unpolluted environment, pristine nature, and the
traditional way of life. Securing local support in maintaining this environment was therefore seen as
critical to the long term sustainability of tourism as a alternative economic livelihood.
The development skills project was initiated as a long-term programme, part of which was to
develop a country-wide network of ECEAT CZ offices, offering advice to local entrepreneurs. One
element of the skills project was concerned with the certification of quality standards.
Product development focused on the production of a guidebook to country holidays (discussed
further below) and other promotional material.
4.3.2 Heritage Trails (HT)
Despite these small, but nevertheless positive beginnings, progress of the programme was
constrained because of inadequate policy and financial support. Problems of establishing a
consistent partnership with government continued in dealings with the Ministry of Regional
Development. Efforts to build an institutional relationship were hampered by frequently changing
political and civil service staff. As a result, in 1998 the ECEAT CZ board decided to extend its
TSRD programme further and develop new activities that would strengthen its position with regard
to the government.
The aim of this extension was not only to create a new tourist product that would build on the
existing skills and products programme but also to:
Capitalize on the global trend towards ‘alternative’ holidays;
Realize the full potential of the country’s natural and cultural assets –(the Czech Republic has
11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 6 UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, several national parks and
protected areas, and many smaller but unique sights of natural, cultural and technical heritage);
Motivate those rural areas that had not yet developed their own tourism brand;
Move beyond accommodation provisions to include additional products that would involve the
wider community;
Expand co-operation to a wider range of accommodation providers;
Attract higher income tourists to generate more income for rural communities;
Strengthen ECEAT CZ‘s position as a partner for central government institutions.
By coincidence, a product that would meet these objectives was developed independently: the
ambitious, 18 month EU PHARE
11
project managed by the English not-for-profit company
Ecotourism Ltd. The project was implemented in three countries –(the Czech Republic, the
Republic of Slovakia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and aimed to implement an
innovative product, the Heritage Trails.
The core principle of the PHARE project was that new Heritage Trails should be developed on the
basis of a cross-sector partnership. Thus ECEAT CZ again began to build high level relationships
with the Ministry of Regional Development and the Czech Tourist Authority (CTA) for project
implementation. Concurrently, the Ministry started to prepare the ‘National Development Plan’ as a
11
The EU PHARE programme was dedicated to Eastern, Central and South-Eastern European countries previously under
Communist regimes and in transition to market economies. Support for sustainable tourism development has been one of its tools for
regeneration of rural economies across these countries.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
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key tool for the EU accession process. The Ministry’s willingness to listen and to understand the
needs of rural areas was visibly higher than a year before. However, no financial support was
received although institutional support slowly appeared. A Manual for Operators was produced as
part of the PHARE project and this was promoted as a CTA product in return for CTA's support for
the production of maps for the Heritage Trails, a website and electronic magazine (www.heritage-
trails.cz). Thus ECEAT CZ gained the right to use the official CTA logo, and the Heritage Trails
became a part of the official Czech tourist offer.
Box 2: Heritage Trails
Linking several tourism facilities and products located within a geographic area and marketing them in unity
has been the essence of the 'heritage trails'. The aims are to design a marketable product; to increase the
number of visitors and revenue; to increase synergy effects between the variety of producers; to cut
marketing and administrative expenditure; and to ease access to the product. The individual enterprises
within the trail remain separately owned but co-ordinated action is required in terms of developing
infrastructure, signage, liasing with in-bound agents, pricing and marketing. The trail is not a fixed product in
terms of opportunities to visit it. It can be visited in part or as a whole, guided or self-guided, and by various
means of transport. However, it is also sold as a package to tourist via a tour operator.
Differing objectives of partners and participants emerged. For example:
ECEAT wanted successful HTs in North and South Moravia that would provide a pilot scheme,
which could be ‘rolled out’ in other regions within the Czech Republic and internationally
through ECEAT's international network.
During early implementation, environmental activists tried to 'highjack' the project for their
fight against a planned road and tunnel connection under the Jeseniky mountains to Poland.
Entrepreneurs in both Moravian regions expected immediate results in the form of increased
visitor arrivals.
Local and District Governments expected the establishment of an association that would be able
to solve the bottlenecks related to tourism development within their own districts.
Within the time-frame of the project two Heritage Trails were developed, one in Northern Moravia
and one in Southern Moravia. The process involved four key steps(described further in Box 3):
1. building partnerships;
2. identifying tourism products of the trail;
3. training stakeholders and developing strategies; and
4. marketing the trail.
Although the PHARE project ended in 2000, ECEAT has continued to roll out the concept and
share the training materials and approach. Thus there are now five HTs:
1. The Pradede HT in Northern Moravia: Sumperk, Bruntal, and Jesenik Districts
2. The Winelands HT in Southern Moravia: Znojmo, Uherske Hradiste, Brno Districts
And three new HTs based on replication and transfer of skills:
3. Trebic, Jihlava, Jindrichuv Hradec Districts
4. Decin, Litomerice, Usti, Ceska Lipa Districts
5. Sumava
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
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Box 3: Making a Heritage Trail
Step 1: Establish partnerships to create the Heritage Trail
Core partners needed to be identified before funds could be received for enterprise development: e.g. a
UK based organisation, and one or two destination organisations as lead partners.
Post receipt of funding, priority work in destination is to build on these partnerships and create further
partnerships through a stakeholder process that evolves from the activities outlined in the steps below.
Step 2: Identify the area and tourism products of the ‘trail’ with partner organisation(s)
Clarify geographic area of the trail. This can include, rural, urban, or a mix of these environments,
usually dependent on the objectives of the enterprise development intervention.
Clarify the products to be included, such as:
I. Heritage sites – natural and cultural (tombs, museums, castles, national parks, rivers, lakes)
II. Cultural interest – traditional and modern arts, crafts, music, dance, wine & beer making.
III. Accommodation, food and drink providers (hotels, guest-houses, B & B, self-catering, campsites,
restaurants, inns)
Decide on how these products will be accessed and how they will be linked to create the trail – i.e. what
forms of transport can be used, but also what is ‘unique’ about the trail and what is has to offer.
Step 3: Train ‘trail’ stakeholders with partner organisation(s)
Market analysis of tourism markets to identify which tourists to target
Develop a marketing strategy that meets identified demand with tourism producer capacity.
Train an in-bound tour operator and/or partner organisation(s) to manage arrivals, transfers, departures,
and travelling between each location on the trail – walking paths, cycle routes, car hire, public transport.
This includes ensuring HT sign-posts are in place on the trail and existing maps, and specially created
HT maps, are available for tourist information packages.
Decide on price that tour operators should charge for the HT package including transport to destination.
Step 4: Market the Heritage Trail
Prepare marketing materials – brochures, maps for self-guided tourists, web site, video, CD ROM, e-
zine.
Distribute materials to identified markets – national tourist board offices, tour operators.
Direct marketing through domestic and overseas tour operators contacted by HT management, either by
visits (Travel Fairs, arranged appointments), or by email and telephone.
4.3.3 Materials and standards for rural tourism products
As part of the initial project, ECEAT CZ produced a guidebook (‘A Countryside Holiday
Guidebook’) featuring all types of accommodation, including farms, campsites, self-catering, B&B
and small hotels. Table 3 below illustrates the widespread use of the book and the increase in visitor
numbers since 1993. To date, the majority of visitors have been Dutch, preferring simple campsites
and attracted by landscape characteristics, affordability, and the absence of mass-tourism. Although
these types of tourists generally spend limited amounts of money, the low investment required to
establish simple campsites is seen as a cost effective way to develop tourism experience. Other
tourists, such as the domestic, German and Belgian markets, seem to prefer self-catering
accommodation, B&Bs and small village hotels. These types of accommodation have increased in
number since 1999 in response to increased promotion in the tourist originating countries.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
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Table 3: Number of guests identifying accommodation through ‘A Countryside Holiday
Guidebook’
1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
300 710 667 1903 1547 2355 2813 3487 3995
Source: ECEAT CZ
Marketing material specific to the Heritage Trails was produced, both in printed and electronic
form, including maps, an e-zine, and a website. In addition, the HT project built relationships with
tour operators in originating countries such as The Netherlands, Germany, UK, France and Belgium
and CTA marketed the product through their offices abroad.
Efforts to develop a certification scheme made considerable progress and two different schemes are
presently in operation in the Czech Republic. The first scheme relates to accommodation quality
standards and includes several different rating schemes depending on the different types of
accommodation provider. Most of these accomdation quality schemes are either run by tourism
trade bodies or governmental agencies. The second certification scheme
refers to contributions to
ecological and heritage protection, and is run by ECEAT but implemented under bilateral contracts
by the Union of the Czech Rural Entrepreneurs, a sub-organisation of the Ministry for Regional
Development. The provider receives a certificate and right to show the logo which indicates their
contribution to the protection of the environment and/or heritage of the area.
ECEAT CZ is now working with several ‘kraj’ (counties) to develop an integrated set of tools for
sustainable tourism development replicating the methodologies used for partnership building, and
producing a ‘Countryside Holiday Guidebook’ for each county. Additional HTs have also been
created in Bohemia
4.4 Progress, challenges, impacts, and critical factors
The following section looks at the main areas in which progress has been made by the initiatives,
and any indicators of impact. It particularly considers progress in dealing with the key issues
(Section 2) for rural tourism product development:
building capacity and quality
marketing
addressing practical constraints
institutional support
While impacts on livelihoods of poor people need to be assessed, there is at this stage insufficient
data available. Key elements of the approach that have emerged as useful are identified, along with
the main challenges.
4.4.1 Progress and challenges
Product development
As indicated above, five HTs were created. Of the first two, the Northern Moravian HT has
flourished. Despite the difficulties, at the outset of creating the HT, and of finding a common
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
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denominator to unify local people’s efforts to build a cultural identity
12
, a follow on EU project
13
,
‘Pradede’ (Forefather’s Land), did achieve this unity of purpose. In addition the HT team had a
strong local project manager who was able to drive the project. This and the fact that a local
association had already been developed for the HT, helped to ensure local ownership of the new
product and to embed the process of collective decision-making, usually such an anathema in post-
communist countries.
The Southern Moravia HT was based on viticulture, and the trail was marketed as the ‘Moravian
Winelands Heritage Trails’. This trail has stagnated due to the absence of a core team to build
cohesion and purpose, but also because it did not have an additionall follow-up project.
Attracting tourists
As indicated in Table 3, the Guidebook is used by approximately 4,000 tourists per year who book
via ECEAT. In addition, it is estimated that two to three times as many book accommodation
directly with the farms. The Heritage Trails project itself attracted a total of 500 tourists in both
North and South Moravia between 2000 and 2002 (according to tour operator sales) of which by far
the largest number visit the Northern Moravian Trail (between 110 and 170 visitors per year). As
with the farms, it is difficult to estimate how many tourists visit the trails independently.
Building tourism capacity and skills
Approximately 15 one-day training sessions were held with about 225 potential, small-scale
entrepreneurs in seven districts. The goal was to encourage entrepreneurial newcomers to start-up
by sharing information with others hat have just done so. It is difficult to measure the direct impacts
of these training sessions since other factors may be involved in decisions to set up a new
enterprise. However, the activities led to the setting up of the Jeseniky independent HT Association
‘Pradedova rise’ (Praded´s land) which has been instrumental in the survival of the Northern
Moravia (Pradede) trail. The training also helped to create a network of new tourism entrepreneurs
which it is hoped will lead to longer-term capacity development through the sharing of experience.
Building institutional collaboration
Four one-day training sessions were held in order to bring together three stakeholders:
governmental and public bodies, entrepreneurs and NGOs. –These training sessions were used for
discussing tourist marketing, communication and co-operation. The results have been mixed.
Although establishing partnerships was one of the first steps in the HT implementation process, in
Southern Moravia this did not translate into setting-up a HT producers association as has happened
in Northern Moravia. Initial participation demonstrated a willingness to develop and exchange ideas
among the trail providers, and to implement those ideas (the Wine Trail), but joint action could not
be maintained. The HT project did however consolidate an effective partnership between ECEAT
CZ, the government (Czech Tourist Authority, and regional governments – ‘kraj’) and private
sector companies (inbound tour operators, foreign tour operators).
Generating local income
Revenue to local households that is directly attributable to these initiatives and easily measurable is
quite small so far. Holiday packages for the Heritage Trails are priced at around €300 per person
and this has generated a total of €150,000 to date. Of this, the local operator’s received around 30
12
This area had been resettled after World War 2, and there was no common cultural heritage.
13
Under Phare Credo, a cross-border programme that in this case is with Poland just north of the Praded mountain area.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
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per cent, (around €45,000), €90,000 remained with local entrepreneurs, while 10 per cent (€15,000)
went to ECEAT CZ, for financing further development, funding and policy work.
Around 16 accommodation providers participate in the project resulting in an average income of
€5,625 over the two years between 2000-02. This is about the same as an individual could earn in a
year in the Czech Republic based on the average annual salary of CZK 13,000 (€433 per month, or
€5,196 annually).
However, this does not include earnings from other tourists who do not pass through ECEAT
bookings, and earnings from spin-off enterprise. Earnings to date are clearly just a start in what
promises to be an expanding product.
For tourists booking farm accommodation via the Country Holidays guide (i.e not on the Heritage
Trail package), the average length of stay is nine days. With an average expenditure per family of
three people of around CZK 500 (€16.7) per night this amounts to a total income of over €200,000
per year, much of which would ideally benefit the local communities.
Estimating ‘leakages’ is difficult, but they do occur largely because providing food and drink for
tourists in all types of accommodation is cheaper when bought from supermarkets, some of which
are now owned or licensed by foreign retail companies. Small independent and organic producers of
farm produce cannot compete against the low prices from large private sector farms. Besides,
certain food, drink and other supplies needed to accommodate tourists are often not available
locally.
Changing local attitudes towards tourism
A less obvious impact, but important over the long-term, is a change in attitudes towards
sustainable tourism and its delivery by a large number of those stakeholders who participated in
partnership workshops and marketing training. From limited understanding and a distrust of change,
participants in the ECEAT CZ training programmes achieved a substantive shift in their attitudes to
rural tourism development.
Both trail experiences to date suggest that positive social impacts occur only when strong
leadership, and repeated and new training opportunities are offered. These enable collective action
among trail providers to deliver consistently good standard products. When this happens, and
tourists do return on repeat visits as in the case of Jeseniky, the community is likely to support rural
tourism development, and new partnerships can be built, such as with Polish communities across
the border.
Enhancing environmental sustainability of tourism
At the local level, the understanding of the relationship between commercial sustainability,
protection and conservation of natural and cultural assets is taking time to develop. Evaluation
suggests five rather than two years of intensive investment in education and support are needed to
properly embed understanding of the importance of maintaining this balance. However, the ECEAT
CZ environmental certification scheme has been accepted at national level, and tour operators who
wish to use the HT name and logo have to pay 10 per cent of their HT revenue to ECEAT CZ.
Recently, agreement has been reached with the Ministry of Environment for ECEAT CZ to start a
programme for an eco-certification system throughout the Czech Republic to include urban areas
and go beyond the rural areas in which it works at present.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
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Building policy support for rural tourism
Government support for tourism dispersion and diversification into the rural economy has partially
come as a result of ECEAT CZ’s persistence in presenting and demonstrating alternative forms of
tourism development over the past eight years. Final adoption of the HTs as a CTA marketed
product in 2000 was a substantial victory. Government policy towards dispersion is now more
proactive. In early October 2002, a high profile, national seminar on the countryside was opened by
President Havel and attended by government ministers (agriculture, economy, environment and
culture). Here, proposals were put forward for joint action on sustainable rural tourism, calling for a
joint forum of Ministries, the Tourist Board, ‘Kraj’ (county governments) to be established. The
objectives are to change restrictive laws and to support the promotion of rural tourism
entrepreneurs. The aim is to create an official country-wide unified tourism product with its own
logo. Following the autumn elections however the new Minister for Regional Development has
appointed a new director of CTA, who now decided to focus on Prague, Castles and Spas.
However at the county level it seems more successful. Some counties have now introduced a new
local subsidy programme for the improvement of rural tourism infrastructure (operational in N.
Moravia, while the Highlands county is planning this for 2003).
Some counties have also started to prepare local Countryside Holiday Guidebooks (for example N.
and S. Moravia, Highlands, S. Bohemia) and it is hoped that eventually all counties will follow suit.
The Heritage Trail concept still requires further promotion at the county level as its objectives and
potential are still not fully understood and supported. It is anticipated that the products will be
marketed by the counties themselves through exhibitions, regional road shows and travel fairs. In
this way, the HT and countryside products will become national products supporting a national
tourism strategy that does focus on dispersal and diversification of Czech tourism.
4.4.2 Key obstacles and ingredients of success
Key challenges to rural tourism development in the Czech Republic include:
Lack of government support;
Need for co-ordination and local leadership to make the concept of Heritage Trails work.
Because they involve a range of small-scale tourism products and providers, and the very
concept rests on linking these conceptually and logistically for the tourist, co-ordination is
essential. But where the local leadership to achieve this has been lacking, the HT concept has
not flourished;
Lack of statistics and feedback (via government) for adaptive management and marketing.
Lack of resources for updating marketing material;
Slow pace, small scale of economic impacts to date;
Uptake of the new product. HT is constrained by strong competition from other tourism
destinations in the Czech Republic (in particular Prague), and from other packages also sold by
tour operators. While commercial competitiveness is sufficient for some gradual success in at
least some of the sites and areas, the investment in rural tourism cannot create a sudden boom.
However, some particularly valuable elements of the Heritage Trail strategy emerge:
On-going and repeated attempts to build institutional collaboration. Although progress has been
slow, institutional collaboration does occur.
Defining the rural product through the creation of ‘heritage trails’.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
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Providing approach, tools, and marketing material that could easily be replicated and taken up
by others (particularly at kraj level). Thus the initial project work could serve effectively as a
demonstration for catalysing wider change. This is important to note given the donor shift away
from projects.
Addressing marketing and customer information at the same time as developing the product and
resource.
Working with counties (kraj) as they have gained an administrative role, and helping them
develop their interest in rural tourism promotion in very practical ways.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
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5 Development of Rural Tourism through Heritage Trails in Uganda
5.1 Background: tourism trends, policy and rural tourism objectives
Historically, tourism was Uganda’s second most important export after coffee. In 1970, 102,000
foreign visitors were recorded for Murchison Falls National Park. This contrasts with 5,800
recorded in 1996 for the same Park (Mann 1998). The collapse in tourism volumes has been
mirrored by a collapse in the large mammal populations in protected areas, which were a key
tourism asset.
Since the restoration of political stability in 1986, tourism has re-emerged on the policy agenda, but
tourism development still faces many obstacles. An ambitious Tourism Master Plan drawn up a
decade ago (UNDP/WTO 1993) set targets for development and arrivals that have so far not
transpired. Inadequate government resources have been unable to provide the necessary framework
for tourism development and the protection of its valuable natural and cultural resource base. The
tourism sector has not been recognised as a priority development sector in wider government
circles. In 1996, tourism moved from having its own Ministry, the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife
and Antiquities, to being part of the larger Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry (MTTI), and its
financial and human resource capacity was heavily reduced. Tourism has lacked political support in
the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MFPED) and therefore is not
eligible for central Poverty Action Funds (PAF) and not given priority in the Medium Term
Expenditure Framework. Despite the formulation of the new tourism policy, this situation is not
expected to change in the near future. Hence donor resources will be highly significant in the
implementation of the new tourism policy framework, but donor support to date has been
fragmented. The capacity of the sector is likely to be further weakened by an impending merger of
the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB), the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) and the Uganda Export
Promotions Board (UEPB) that has been highly contested by the private sector and UTB. The
private sector has also been weak and fragmented.
Uganda’s tourism product is also problematic. The legacy of Idi Amin and more recent insecurity
on its borders has created an image problem (Holm-Petersen 2002). Uganda has to compete with
other African destinations (eg. Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and more recently
South Africa). Gorilla tourism has been the only niche where it had a competitive edge but this led
to a monoculture approach to tourism development and effectively put a ceiling on the industry as
only about 4,000 gorilla tracking permits are available annually. It is estimated that currently only
5,000 tourists visit Uganda each year and 10,000 expatriate residents participate in tourist activities
(Mann 1998).
On the positive side, Uganda has by-passed mass tourism, albeit unintentionally, because of its past
troubles, and is well positioned to take advantage of newer trends, and alternative forms of tourism
that can protect natural resources and stimulate cultural diversity while generating economic
growth. A new strategic plan and a tourism development policy have been developed to provide a
framework to transform tourism into a major economic sector and a vehicle for poverty alleviation
(MTTI 2002). The new tourism policy has been presented to Cabinet for approval, before being put
into legislation. The overall policy objective is for tourist arrivals to reach a ‘critical mass’, for the
sector to become a vehicle for development and to sustain Protected Areas (PAs). The policy
emphasises ‘large-scale participation of communities’ and cultural tourism, including handicraft
development, as a rural income generating activity. It also embraces a bottom-up principle of
supporting developments at district level, again with a focus on community-based tourism
development. Various donor programmes are supporting product and infrastructure development
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
24
that will encourage niche product diversification and promotion of avi-tourism (bird watching),
mountaineering, sport fishing, white water rafting, primate viewing, eco-tourism, cultural and
community-based tourism (Mann 2001).
Diversification and dispersal of tourism into rural areas have been strongly supported by the
Government, particularly the UTB, for two main reasons. Firstly, UTB launched a diversification
programme in the mid-1990s and community and cultural tourism were identified as important
niche products to redevelop international tourism. Thus rural tourism is seen as a means to improve
and expand the product. Secondly, it was recognised that community tourism could contribute to
wider national development objectives enshrined in Uganda’s Comprehensive Development
Framework (CDF) and the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) (which has guided government
policy formulation since 1997).
In marketing Uganda, UTB emphasises a circuit of nature-based attractions predominantly in the
west and south-west: Murchison Falls National Park, Kibale Forest National Park, Queen Elizabeth
National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and Lake Mburo National Park. Other
important tourist sites outside this circuit include white water rafting,the Source of the Nile and the
Ssese Islands in Lake Victoria. Tourism development in the North has been constrained by
insecurity. This approach is the antithesis of the traditional approach to tourism in developing
countries, where ‘honey pot’ development entails the building of large and exclusive resort hotels
by foreign investors, ring-fenced to keep the surrounding poverty at bay.
5.2 The Heritage Trails Initiative
The concept
Building on the marketing efforts of UTB, an initiative to develop and market a new rural tourism
product, a Heritage Trail (HT), was conceived in the late nineties. A Heritage Trails Project 1999-
2002 was established as a partnership between three organisations: the Kabaka Foundation, Action
for Conservation through Tourism (ACT), and the Uganda Community Tourism Association
(UCOTA). The Kabaka Foundation is an indigenous Ugandan NGO, established by the King
(Kabaka) of Buganda – a traditional kingdom within Uganda restored by the current President
Yoweri Museveni. ACT is a British charity and UCOTA is a tourism producers’ association,
formed in the mid-1990s ‘to encourage quality community-based tourism with the aim of benefiting
communities through sustainable development’ (Williams, White and Spenceley 2001).
As in the Czech case, a Heritage Trail was seen as a way of defining and creating a rural tourism
product. The project’s aim was to establish a pilot heritage trail linking a number of cultural sites in
the Buganda Kingdom to be marketed as one product. The link between the sites was the common
promotional theme, the ‘Kabaka’s (King’s) Trail’, rather than a physical route. The project aimed to
facilitate the creation of local community tourism associations at each site, which would develop
and manage tourism services and facilities.
The design of the project rested on some core considerations and principles:
1. It explicitly evolved from community-based tourism, with a focus on the social and
economic benefits of a trail-based tourism product for local communities.
2. It focused on the importance and potential of cultural revitalisation. In the Kingdom of
Buganda, as elsewhere in Uganda, much of Uganda’s rich cultural heritage fell into disrepair
during the civil strife under Presidents Amin and Obote. The Kabaka Foundation and ACT
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
25
identified tourism as a tool to revitalise cultural sites and to reduce poverty amongst
marginalised communities who are the traditional custodians of the heritage.
3. In connection with the first two points, the project focused on creating community
institutions, not just supporting individual entrepreneurs. Community associations were seen
as the guardians of culture, the developers of the tourism resource, and the agents for
community benefit. This is more in line with a development approach in rural areas than a
typical small business approach.
The design of the project was also influenced by security considerations. In 1999, a group of
tourists on a gorilla-watching holiday in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in the far
south west of the country were killed by rebels from Rwanda. As a result it was decided to locate
the development of a pilot heritage trail near to Kampala, and also to focus initially on the domestic
tourist market (ex-pat residents, Ugandans and school children), since international arrivals had
fallen sharply following the incident. Other strong reasons to develop the trail in this central area
were that it fell within the traditional kingdom of Buganda and the project had the strong support of
the Kabaka (King). Although these sites are within 45 minutes of the capital city, a baseline study,
conducted for the project in 2000, showed that they remain on the periphery of mainstream
economic activity, lack access to essential services and infrastructure and exhibit high levels of
poverty.
The objectives of the heritage trail project were therefore defined as follows (HTU 2002):
to demonstrate how tourism can be harnessed for poverty alleviation;
to conserve natural and cultural assets through education and understanding of sustainable
tourism development;
to assist communities to participate in the tourism opportunity and to influence policy making in
this area; and
to strengthen local institutions, particularly UCOTA.
Approach and strategies
The sites to be included in the Buganda Heritage Trail were identified by stakeholders such as
Kingdom officials and the Commissioner of Antiquities. Extensive field visits were undertaken and
in November 1999 nine sites with the highest tourism potential were selected on the basis of:
proximity to the capital
accessibility
attraction
type of site
historical significance
marketable product theme
community compatibility
However, project implementation only proceeded with six of the nine sites. The reasons why
implementation couldn’t proceed at three sites were varied. They included a lack of community
cohesion and/or motivation, the community was difficult to define, insurmountable political
sensitivities, other agencies were providing assistance and/or it was questionable whether incomes
generated would benefit the intended beneficiaries. Details of the six remaining sites are included in
Table 4.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
26
Table 4: Community associations and attractions on the Kabaka‘s Trail
Community Association / Site Attraction No. of
members
Baagalayaze Heritage Site Burial tombs of a mother of a king 35
Kanyange Cultural Centre Burial tombs of a mother of a king 22
Naggalabi Cultural Tourism Association
(NACUTA) Coronation site 25
Ssezibwa Falls Tourism Project (SFTP) Traditional spiritual site for healing
and area of natural beauty 29
Suuna II Wamala Tombs Tourism
Association (SWATTA) Burial tombs for a king 60
Tourism and Handicraft Association of
Kalema (THAKA) Prison ditch 40
Source: HTU, 2002
The main activities of the project have involved:
On-site work with communities
Community training programme
Building institutional collaboration and strengthening
Marketing
Table 5 shows the chronology of activities for developing the trail sites.
Table 5: Heritage Trails Uganda Project Activities
Year Main Activities
1 Trail site identification, market research and site selection;
Dialogue with local site stakeholders to confirm interest in participation and exploration of
land user rights and/or revenue sharing agreements;
Creation of site community tourism associations where appropriate;
On-site handicraft workshops to facilitate income-generation in the short-term and mobilise
community members;
Baseline socio-economic survey of communities and historical site research;
Tourism and conservation awareness building.
2 Participatory business development planning;
Implementation of the community training programme;
Implementation of site plans.
3 Production of promotional and educational materials;
Further community training;
Further site development;
Launch of the pilot trail and implementation of the marketing strategy;
Review and forward planning;
Development of other trails country-wide.
On-site community work
This initially focused on building the capacity of new legally-registered community-based tourism
institutions. Community members were mobilised through local leaders such as elected councillors
and cultural guardians and attended participatory seminars to develop a constitution and elect an
Executive. To participate in the activities of the association, community members pay a
membership fee. Of the 215 total members, 135 or 63 per cent are women.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
27
Other on-site activities included a training programme, restoration of cultural assets (involving
training in traditional building skills), exchange visits within Uganda and to Tanzania, and business
planning. A number of potential income-generating activities were identified through a participatory
planning process and assessed through business planning training. However, assessing the
commercial sustainability of these micro-enterprises proved a particularly challenging part of the
project due to low levels of education. Despite follow-up training, some of the community
associations find the business plans difficult to use effectively.
Clarifying the land rights of the new associations was a critical factor in the project. The Kabaka
Foundation acted as a facilitator in negotiations with the Kingdom of Buganda. The three tourism
associations operating on King’s land
14
were given guaranteed use rights. A legal agreement was
made stipulating that the three associations were required to give 30 per cent of the net entrance fee
collected at each site to the Buganda Kingdom administration for maintenance of other sites. The
remaining 70 per cent and all other income from their activities (e.g. guiding, handicraft sales,
cultural entertainment) accrues to the association and its members. This agreement provided new
incentives for the local community to work together with each other and the traditional cultural
institution.
Institutional collaboration
In addition to institutional capacity building for each community tourism association, the project
developed links with other institutions nationally, and an institutional strengthening programme for
project partners and staff was undertaken. Two project advisory groups were established. A ten-
member steering committee included representatives from private, public and voluntary sectors
including the UTB, Uganda Tourism Association (UTA), Association of Ugandan Tour Operators
(AUTO), Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), the Department of Antiquities and Museums
(DAMS), the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) and the Ministry of
Tourism, Trade and Industries (MTTI). It increased the policy influence of the project and also
played critical role in mediating political sensitivities between stakeholders and mobilising
resources (Opio 2002). A larger stakeholder group (approximately 40 members) was established to
guide site selection country-wide for future trails in the extension phase of the project. This group
included a wider range of stakeholders, such as cultural institutions, UNESCO, the Uganda Wildlife
Authority (UWA), and the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC). Institutional links
were also established with a number of training and research organisations. Figure 1 illustrates the
relationships between the different groups and organisations in the pilot trail project. The larger
stakeholder group reached a consensus that the project initially run by the three NGOs should be
transformed into an independent NGO, ‘Heritage Trails Uganda’ (HTU), to reflect its national
remit. HTU was registered in December 2002.
Beyond these formal links, project staff participated in policy discussions on tourism and culture,
and advocated more cultural education on the national curricula. The focus of engagement has been
to encourage the recognition of cultural tourism as a tool for poverty reduction and heritage
conservation. Such ideas have also been disseminatined internationally, through media coverage,
distribution of a video, and presentations at several international conferences.
14
Of the three other sites, two are tombs of queen mothers. These are owned by the traditional cultural guardian of the tomb, the
Nnamasoles, who are the patrons of the respective community associations and encourage community participation in tourism and
conservation activities. The third site, Ssezibwa Falls, is on land owned by the Church and by a tea company. The association secured
a lease from the church and the tea company donated its land.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
28
Figure 1 Institutional Relationships in Uganda’s Heritage Trail Project
Marketing
At the start of the project as part of the baseline study, a tourism survey was conducted at each site
to compile information on visitor numbers, types and needs. It showed that most sites received few
visitors and that these were mainly Ugandans with spiritual offerings and schoolchildren (ACT
2000). In early 2001, qualitative market research was carried out with the help of focus groups
including tour operators, Kampala based ex-pats and Ugandans, and school children. The groups
first concentrated on the HT concept, and then undertook an analysis of each site within the
Kabaka’s Trail, and included both domestic and international potential markets for the trail. In
November 2001, ‘Kabaka’s Trail’ was launched with promotional material and high profile
marketing. Current marketing initiatives include linking up with private sector operators who have
expressed support for the trail through UTA and AUTO. For example, the Sheraton Hotel sponsored
a marketing briefing on the trail for tour operators in March 2002.
The project recently (August 2002) entered an extension phase which is intended to expand the
heritage trail concept country-wide through the new NGO, Heritage Trails Uganda. The national
stakeholder group developed a more detailed set of criteria for site selection based on lessons learnt
in the pilot phase. There are currently insufficient funds to undertake professional market research
to guide new site selection in the extension phase, hence site selection is likely to be oriented on a
survey of AUTO members, and consultation with the NCDC for cultural education potential.
5.3 Progress, challenges, impacts and key factors
5.3.1 Progress and challenges
Assessing impacts
Methodologies for assessing the positive and negative impacts of tourism enterprise intervention on
communities in developing countries in terms of poverty reduction are a recent development, and
Partner:
Kabaka
Foundation
Partner:
ACT (Project
Management)
Partner:
UCOTA
Advisory Groups: public,
private and voluntary
sectors
1. Steering Committee
2. Stakeholder Group
Other
organisational
linkages
Heritage
Trails Project
Team
Project Beneficiaries:
6 Communit
y
Tourism Action Grou
p
s on the Kabaka’s Trail
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
29
still in the process of being tested (Ashley 1999, Holland 2002). Due to a lack of documented case
studies, the Heritage Trails Project in Uganda has developed its own set of indicators for monitoring
project progress. These cover both positive and negative impacts, with a focus on the impacts on
livelihoods at local level. They cover the following impact areas:
Empowerment, networking and dissemination (e.g. number of community association members,
number of members elected to the UCOTA Executive, number of new partnerships formed,
number of media exposures);
Skills training (e.g. number of community association members trained in business
development, guiding etc);
Enterprise development (e.g. number of tourism services provided, number employed, number
of visitors);
Access to essential resources (e.g. number of community development projects benefiting from
tourism enterprise development);
Conservation of natural and cultural assets and values (e.g. number of renovated cultural
structures, number of cultural guardians resuming and/or withdrawing from traditional roles).
Data collected on these to date is used below to consider progress against the key issues for rural
tourism identified above, and also considered in the Czech case study. At the time of writing the
community tourism associations have only been operational for one year and the marketing strategy
has not been fully implemented, thus it is again early to assess impacts, particularly on livelihoods.
Product development
The foundations for a new tourism product in Uganda have been developed. The project has
focused on creating associations, restoring sites as products, and developing skills. While the
tourism products now exist they are not yet thriving. However, each association has developed at
least three micro-enterprises including guiding around the cultural site, handicrafts and cultural
entertainment.
Sourcing of raw materials such as spear grass and reeds for the traditional cultural structures pose a
challenge. A recent needs assessment
15
carried out in June 2002 highlighted that a main operational
difficulty for most of the trail groups was a lack of raw materials. These raw materials used to be
freely available locally or donated by loyal subjects, but due to agriculture practices (particularly
livestock grazing) and increased settlement, the materials have to be transported, incurring transport
costs.
Local capacity and product quality
The project has focused on institution building of associations as much as developing
entrepreneurship, and it is still very early to make judgments with regard to acquisition of business
skills. The quality of micro-enterprises inevitably varies across the associations depending on their
capacity, as does their potential to diversify service provision. For example, the traditional
performance group of Baagalayaze Heritage Site is of a very high standard and perform at local
functions as well as on-site.
Maintaining service quality can be especially challenging as several sites lack reliable telephone
communications for advance notice of bookings. In the basic needs assessment, five out of six trail
groups identified the lack of telephones as a main operational challenge. Though UCOTA plays a
15
UCOTA Membership Information questionnaire survey, June 2002
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
30
role in facilitating bookings and providing other support to community associations, it is still also in
need of external technical support.
A key challenge identified by the community tourism associations is a lack of financial resources to
develop and maintain product quality and reliability. An initial low level of visitors is a barrier to
gaining such finance. Marketing remains a challenge to the community associations, in particular
the marketing of handicrafts from which they can generate income even when visitor numbers are
low.
Local benefits: financial and other
The community tourism associations have earned some money from paying visitors to the sites,
although visitor numbers are still too low to make a significant impact. However, visitor numbers to
one of the better known sites, Ssezibwa Falls, have doubled and the association employs two paid
guides (the other sites have volunteer guides). The site earned 875,300/= Uganda Shillings,
(approximately GBP £340) between January and November 2002 from entrance fees.
In addition to visitor fees, sales of handicrafts to the UCOTA shop generated 425,000 Uganda
Shillings (GBP £170) worth of business for five of the associations between January and August
2001 (the shop was temporarily closed after August 2001). Total income is thought to exceed this as
crafts have also been sold on-site, for example, book keeping records at Baagalayaze show that 90
per cent of craft sales were made on-site in 2001. It is anticipated that craft sales through UCOTA
will also increase through technical assistance from Traidcraft and the McKnight Foundation.
In addition to income, two forms of non-financial benefits are considered particularly important
impacts of the projects. The first is the revival of cultural values and associated social networks and
activities
16
. Before the project commenced, most of the trail sites were in a serious state of disrepair
and in some cases were overseen by elderly cultural guardians with scarce resources. The wider
community, especially the younger generation, had no attachment to the sites because of the
abolition of the Kingdom during the political unrest. The project has initiated the regeneration of
both physical structures (such as traditional receptions, ceremonial houses and tombs) and
traditional, culturally specific, skills such as building, bark cloth making, music and dance. This has
encouraged several cultural guardians to resume their traditional roles and for cultural functions at
the sites to recommence.
Secondly, the involvement of community members in participatory and business planning is
important for developing local capacity, even if this is not immediately reflected in enterprise
development and revenue.
Marketing
To date visitor numbers have been low, partly because the marketing strategy has not yet been fully
implemented (especially for the domestic market). It is anticipated that visitor numbers will grow,
however, as several international schools in Kampala have expressed interest and local ground
handlers are currently incorporating trail sites into their itineraries.
The proximity of the trail sites to Kampala should facilitate uptake by the domestic market, while
the fact that three of the sites are also located on the main tourist routes increases their accessibility
for international visitors. However, a constraint for two sites (Katereke and Wamala Tombs) is the
poor state of the access dirt road, particularly in the rainy season.
16
See ‘Key non-financial livelihood impacts by case study’ in Ashley, Roe and Goodwin, 2001, Table 7, p.24
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
31
Perceptions of insecurity have also constrained growth of the international tourism sector. Security
in protected areas in the west and south-west has improved but the situation has deteriorated further
north due to a rebel insurgency.
Marketing material for the pilot trail in Uganda to date consists of brochures, flyers for international
trade fairs, mini ‘infopoint’ cards, a web site (www.culturalheritagetrails.com). Familiarisation trips
for local ground handlers and schools have been particularly successful. The project is currently
reviewing its marketing strategy with more emphasis on cost-effective methods to attract the
domestic market (e.g. radio and TV adverts, distribution of marketing materials through ex-pat
networks). In the longer term UCOTA will be responsible for marketing the trail sites as part of its
cultural product line. The pilot trail has the support of the Uganda Tourist Board and is featured on
its web-site (www.visituganda.com).
Creating institutional capacity and supportive policy
The project focused on institutional strengthening of UCOTA, in terms of capacity building for
organisational management, marketing, fund-raising and practical skills such as in computing and
driving. An internal evaluation report concluded that overall the capacity building programme was a
success (Dixey 2002). In particular, residential courses enabled the newly elected UCOTA
Executive who reside in different parts of Uganda to constructively address a management
transition. This capacity-building process was, however, just the beginning of a much longer
institutional strengthening programme that is being continued throughout 2002 with additional
resources.
In 1999 there was no Government tourism or culture policy although the wider policy framework
and therefore UTB and MTTI were supportive of poverty alleviation through rural tourism
development. A key achievement of the project was that it was very influential in shaping the new
draft national tourism and culture policies (Opio 2002).
5.3.2 Obstacles and success factors
Among the challenges encountered, the main obstacles in the Ugandan context emerge as:
Low level of development and lack of skills at community level. The formation of the
community associations, their business planning, product development and marketing
training took much longer than anticipated to reach a reasonable standard for foreign and
domestic tourism markets. The practical concomitants of low development, such as lack of
telephones and access to credit, also pose a challenge for building product quality.
Limited international tourism in Uganda. While international visitors could provide a strong
and culturally interested niche market, continued insecurity is constraining the growth of
international arrivals. The domestic market for the trails is important but limited. Marketing
to either group is slow and needs greater investment of resources. The knock-on effects on
small-scale producers can be substantial: one year without tourists may mean the collapse of
a small tourism enterprise without an adequate financial safety net to get through the tough
times.
Implementation obstacles: the initial project time period of two years was too short and the
design over-ambitious. Resources and expertise in some areas have been insufficient, while
funding delays exacerbated problems. The project did achieve most of its objectives over
three years (Opio 2002) although the time period was simply insufficient to fully implement
a bottom-up participatory approach to product identification and marketing and to help the
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
32
communities achieve their enterprise and management objectives. However, with this type
of intervention, which is always likely to depend on donor support, short-term funding
cycles are likely to remain a problem unless donors change their way of operating, or
investors are found from elsewhere.
It is clearly early days for the project, particularly as far as delivering flourishing enterprises and
livelihood impacts on the ground are concerned. Nevertheless, some important strategies for laying
the foundations for rural tourism can be identified, including:
Building community associations, not just entrepreneurs, in order to serve the social
development objectives of the approach;
Working with women and specifically with craft producers, to get activities going;
Investing in training at community level, including exchange visits;
Building on traditional cultural assets and tapping into the cultural niche in the market;
Developing innovative land user rights agreements;
Building partnerships with a range of national institutions, and building capacity in UCOTA.
These partnerships become particularly important now that the concept is being extended to
other sites;
Developing a range of marketing strategies and readiness to focus on the domestic sector and on
schools. Building links with tour operators;
Focusing the pilot on sites near Kampala to minimise logistical and security problems, and
maximise the benefit of support from the Kabaka (King).
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
33
6 Implications for Developing Rural Tourism
The two case studies share some similarities, despite the very different contexts. Both sought to
develop a rural tourism product by marketing a package of attractions as a ‘trail’. Both invested
much of their effort to work at the local level, and sought to build an association to co-ordinate the
diverse community members or service providers. In both cases, there are associations that have
thrived and others that have ground to a halt. Both also focused on building relationships with
policy-makers and a network of other institutions, and have gone on to use this to replicate the trail
concept. In both cases, marketing was undertaken by the project rather than by the local service
providers.
There are also considerable differences. The Ugandan initiative benefited from a high level of
government support from the start compared to relative disinterest in the Czech Republic. However,
it also had to grapple with a much higher degree of underdevelopment, in terms of local skills and
infrastructure.
This section briefly reviews what light can be shed on the key issues for rural tourism, based on the
analysis of the strategies, progress and obstacles of the two case studies. In doing this, it returns to
the themes and key issues outlined in Section 2, and also draws on other rural tourism examples to
amplify points. In order to identify broader lessons, the analysis necessarily moves up from
describing details to a level of generalisations, none of which will be applicable in all rural tourism
situations. Thus this section should be interpreted as highlighting implications of wider relevance
that can be drawn from these case studies, but not providing a blueprint for rural tourism
development.
6.1 Key Issues
Creating a rural product
These Heritage Trails were not created in rural sites of exceptional tourism value but in attractive
rural settings with some undeveloped assets (such as for example culture, horticulture). The heritage
trails demonstrate the value of packaging an array of attractions as a ‘trail’. The trail concept is
fundamentally a marketing tool, providing a brand image in the mind of the consumer. But it can
also be an organising and mobilising tool to bring together producers on the ground. This is likely to
be particularly important in rural areas, where most products and producers are small-scale, and
need to work together to gain economies of scale (e.g. in marketing, accessing training). The value
of promoting a rural product as a trail is also evident in a South African case described by Rogerson
(2002). The implication is that for the more typical rural areas (not the exceptional sites), use of a
trail concept or other means of packaging and branding can be useful ways to strengthen local
tourism product.
Ensuring sufficient quality of the product and services
This has proved to be a big problem in Uganda, given the limited time frame to date, low levels of
education, lack of any previous tourism experience in the rural areas, and lack of local investment
funds. A similar example comes from the Amadiba Horse and Hiking Trail on South Africa’s Wild
Coast, which is a community project based on a strong asset (beautiful undeveloped coastline)
providing horseback trails and hiking. However, the NGO involved has also been struggling to raise
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
34
standards of guiding and accommodation to sufficient levels (Ntshona 2002). Quality appears to
have been less of a problem in the Czech Republic where, although the enterprise culture was new,
general skill levels were higher. In particular, the trails in the Czech Republic could make use of the
existing certification programmes, which helped to set, and encourage, quality standards. The
implication is that ensuring sufficient quality of rural tourism services can be a big challenge,
particularly in poor developing countries, and requires substantial investment in training.
Investing in marketing and attracting visitors
It was suggested earlier, drawing on an example from Poland, that one problem in rural tourism is
that a diversity of small producers struggle to invest sufficiently in marketing. This appears to have
been borne out by these two case studies as in neither case are the local service providers
themselves yet doing the marketing. ECEAT CZ and the Ugandan Heritage Trails Project have
produced marketing material and made links with private operators, as well as the National Tourism
Organisation. The same applies to the Amadiba trail in South Africa, where marketing is done by a
NGO. Even with NGO resources invested in marketing, the number of visitors attracted so far has
been low. In the Ugandan case, market research was highlighted as very valuable, though not
extensive enough. The implication is that marketing emerges as a major challenge for rural tourism
entrepreneurs. In such situations, it is important to link them to an outside institution that can invest
in marketing for the initial period, whether this is a project, NGO, or Government Tourism
Organisation. Market research from early stages onwards is a necessary requirement and invaluable.
Dealing with practical, logistical and implementation challenges
Both projects encountered a conflict between an ambitious design and limited time scale and
resources. Training was delayed or too short and skills development not always sufficient. Project
funding was too short. The implication here is that building rural tourism is a long-term and slow
process, and needs to be planned and resourced as such.
Building local institutions at community level
The Czech project worked directly with new entrepreneurs, while also seeking to encourage local
associations that would co-ordinate the entrepreneurs. These emerged as key elements: where the
association thrived under strong leadership (as in Northern Moravia), the trail has been successful
and continues to operate. Where leadership was lacking and the association weak (as in Southern
Moravia), the trail has not flourished. The Ugandan project focused even more exclusively on
building community institutions rather than entrepreneurs, given the different development context
and the explicit socio-economic and cultural goals of the project. The associations, however, are
micro-organisations, located at each individual site, rather than spanning across, and ‘uniting’ the
‘trail’. The focus on associations may have resulted in relatively little development of
entrepreneurship, or at least slow development of entrepreneurship. However, this has also built the
capacity for collective management of the tourism assets and tourism development. The implication
is that the need for local associations, to unite entrepreneurs or manage collective assets needs to
be assessed and may require substantial investment. This is in addition to direct training and
support of individual entrepreneurs. Whatever the external input, however, some may well grind to
a halt for internal reasons.
Building institutional networks and policy support
Whereas the general picture is that support for rural tourism is better established in Eastern Europe
than sub-Saharan Africa, the situation in the two cases reviewed here was the reverse: the Czech
project struggled to win recognition from the Tourism Board, and even then was constrained by
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
35
lack of tangible support, while the Uganda project had strong policy backing from the start. This
made a particular difference to the degree in which a common marketing strategy was developed
and supported. On the other hand however, in terms of visitor arrivals the Heritage Trails in the
Czech Republic have proven to be considerably more successful than the Ugandan trails. In
addition to working directly with tourism policy makers, both projects sought to develop
collaboration with a wider array of institutions: local councils in the Czech Republic, NGO’s in
Uganda. Several considerations suggest that this institutional collaboration was very important:
In both cases, the initial Heritage Trails are only pilot sites, to act as the basis for wider
replication. Replication depends on uptake of the concept and methods by others rather than
perpetual expansion of a project.
In both cases, a time-bound fixed-resourced project appeared to be too limited for the rural
development process, making it all the more important that an on-going process to support rural
tourism is built in other institutions.
While both these cases have marked success in building institutional collaboration, examples
from elsewhere indicate how the lack of institutional co-ordination can block rural tourism. For
example, in South Africa’s Wild Coast, an area of considerable tourism potential, the Amadiba
trail and a new casino are among the very few tourism developments of recent decades.
Ambitious tourism development plans by many different governmental bodies have floundered,
and institutional weaknesses and rivalry have played a key part (Ashley and Ntshona 2002).
Another case study on the northern edge of the Selous National Park in Tanzania highlights
another extreme, where the objective of promoting rural tourism falls between different
institutional mandates. It is neither a priority for national tourism planners, nor the rural
Council, nor the conservationists running the community-based natural resource management
programme or the reserve to take control over promoting rural tourism. This partly explains why
there is no diversification into tourism enterprise in a location adjacent to a key tourism asset
(Ashley, Mdoe and Reynolds, 2002).
Dependency of rural tourism on national tourism developments
In many cases, rural tourism is developed or expanded as a strategy for attracting tourists away
from existing resorts (whether urban or rural) and dispersing them into new areas. In other cases it
may be developed to offer an entirely new package to a new market (e.g. to Dutch campers, not
Prague weekend-trippers, in the case of Czech Heritage Trails). But new tourism products are
dependent, to varying degrees, on the overall growth of tourism, and particularly the image of the
country as a whole, not just the rural area. This is evident in Uganda where perceptions of insecurity
in the country have hampered development of the international market for the heritage trail sites.
Thus the implication is that successful development of rural tourism may be partly dependent on
success of the national tourism product, or at least hampered by constraints or downswings that
affect tourism. The linkage between the new rural product and existing products, whether it is an
add-on for the same market or a new offering for a new market, needs to be identified as part of the
development strategy.
6.2 Can rural tourism contribute to poverty reduction?
Both case studies describe small, recently implemented projects and as such cannot demonstrate
clear successes in creating rural tourism and reducing rural poverty. For some indication, we have
to turn to comparable experience in countries with a longer investment. In Eastern Europe, one of
the most successful examples in developing rural tourism is Hungary. A combination of a
successful national tourism industry, a serious policy commitment to rural tourism, an attractive
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
36
rural setting, and many years experience of attracting Western tourists (in particular during the
‘closed-off’ communist days) have generated a well-established and important tourism sector. This
does not mean that all the other East European countries can automatically do the same, particularly
as they entered the post iron-curtain era without an existing western-oriented tourism industry, but it
does suggest that the product potential is there. In sub-Saharan Africa, one comparative example to
turn to is Namibia, where the work of the Namibian Community Tourism Association (NACOBTA)
initially served as a model for the establishment of Uganda’s UCOTA. NACOBTA focuses
exclusively on community tourism, much of which is in the north-east and north-west communal
(rural) areas. While community tourism there is still developing (rapidly in some areas) from a tiny
base, and has its own share of problems, a review of NACOBTA in 2001 concluded that ‘most
CBTEs are making an income that has changed their communities from being poor or very poor to
being better off. This has contributed significantly towards the equitable distribution of resources
between urban and rural communities’ (Nicanor 2001, p34).
Clearly there are cases where tourism is successfully developing and contributes to growth in rural
areas. The extent to which the growth and opportunities generated are pro-poor is a different issue.
As discussed in Section 2, the relative importance of small-scale enterprises and cultural attractions
is likely to enhance opportunities for the poor, but Rogerson’s (2002) analysis of the Highlands
Meander in South Africa issues an important warning note: while the creation of the ‘Meander’ has
been successful in creating and marketing a product, the all-white ownership of, and participation
in, the tourism sector in the area has not been reversed. Thus from a pro-poor perspective, success
needs to be measured in terms of both creating tourism-led growth in rural areas, and in terms of the
distribution of opportunities among the poor and others.
PPT Working Paper 12 Tourism in Poor Rural Areas
37
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Uganda's Opportunity
  • S Mann
Mann, S. (2001) 'Uganda's Opportunity', Our Planet, pp.24-25, Vol. 10(1).
Plans to rebuild tourism
  • S Mann
Mann, S. (1998) 'Plans to rebuild tourism, Country Report: Uganda -on the ascent', ACP-EU Courier, pp. 38-39, No. 170, Brussels.