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A women led CBTO meeting in Coastal Kenya

Social Well Being and Human Dignity In CBT

By David Okul

A CBT project is sustainable as long as it produces a net positive benefit to the community. In general, the objective of community-based tourism development is to improve the community’s level of economic, social, and environmental advancement. Examples of benefits include the creation of community resources such as health services, education, and infrastructure for the community itself. In addition, CBT must benefit all stakeholders involved for it to last. The benefit enjoyed by the local community usually comes in the form of financial and non-financial gains.

Subsequently, rural and community-based tourism could increase the opportunities for social contact and exchange among the local community and the visitors. In addition, rural tourism benefits the community as it focuses on the protection and preservation of local nature and heritage.

Local culture is a common CBT attraction

How can a CBTO ensure social well-being and guarantee human dignity?

  1. Develop a social policy with the community members and proactively communicate and update periodically. A CBT social policy should:
  • Respect local cultures by ensuring that the activities undertaken by the CBT should not undermine their culture or the cultures of neighboring communities
  • Promote gender equality by practicing equity in the distribution of roles and resources to women, youth, and men.
  • Uphold dignity and respect i.e., apart from local cultures, the CBT has to make efforts to respect and treat with dignity the cultures of its visitors.
  • Support child protection whereby the CBTO ensures that the social policy protects children from negative aspects of sex tourism and child labor.
  1. Promote Collaboration and networking. This is consistent with principle 2 for CBT. Collaboration and networking ensure that the CBTO understands stakeholders’ need for social well-being.
  2. Implement efficient marketing strategies: A CBTO needs to be market-efficient to be able to sustain its social activities. Information on effective marketing methods can be obtained from the SUS-TOUR Marketing Guidelines[1] and the SUS-TOUR DIY toolkit on Marketing.[2]
  3. Promote the conservation of natural resources. Conservation of community resources needs to be one of the main characteristics of sustainable tourism development. In this subject area, conservation refers to the preservation of the culture of a local community, the heritage in the area, the environment, and nature that represents the identity of the tourist place. Ventures that promote conservation promote the social well-being of the community. More on conservation is available in principle 8.
  4. Develop a code of conduct for the CBTO members. The code of conduct refers to rules that guide the social norms and practices of groups and organizations. It assists in ensuring that members understand the dos and don’ts of an organization.
  5. Develop a code of conduct for tourists. CBTOS needs to have a code of conduct as visitors may have cultures and beliefs that are dissimilar to them. Each CBTO should develop a code of conduct and communicate it to the tourists during the initial briefing.
  6. Develop a code of conduct for the other business activities including food and beverage, guides, accommodation, etc. A code of conduct is an important tool in improving the quality of products and experiences offered by CBT.
  7. Discourage the abuse of drugs among the community members
  8. Disseminate information on the contemporary social issues in the area such as HIV and AIDs, tribalism, and corruption as they relate to the CBTO.

[1] Georgina, Guillen-Hanson, Leisinger Matthias, and Deng Yang. 2017. “SUS-TOUR Marketing Guideline.”

[2]  Yang, Deng. 2018. “SUS-TOUR CBT DIY Toolkit- Module 3: Communication and Marketing.”


Sample Code of Conducts

Code of Conducts

David Okul is a Kenyan environmental management professional with over 10 years experience on donor projects, conservation, forestry, ecotourism, and community-based natural resources management. When not working on  environmental projects, I spend my time writing for Silvica on a variety of topics. The views in this blog are personal and do not represent the organizations that he is associated with.