The tourism that is most prevalent in our communities is a direct reflection of our communities' image the wider world, this may not always correlate with the reality of who and what we are, or what our communities are. Nevertheless, whether it is a beneficial or destructive process we inevitably internalise this image in some way.
Our local tourism sector has followed an extreme route of extraction, which is to suck out profits. The paradox of this is that the main resource that enables such tourism is our communities, but there is little value flowing back to sustain them.
We provide workers, often cheaply and without the security of a steady wage. We are the creators of the landscape and the ones that look after it. It's our industrial heritage that attracts people here.
In order to empower our communities to re-purpose our foundational, local economies for our benefit, expression of a positive and true image is vital. It strengthens the confidence of our people. The social benefit of re-purposing tourism into 'community' tourism generates gains in the cohesion of our community and the local economy.
How about looking at tourism in a new way? Does the existing model suit us? Are we getting the most out of it? Do we provide the backdrop but don't see any of the benefit from our work?
Community tourism involves local companies anchored in the community who are committed to creating a true experience of that community, whether by including:
the language or languages of the community in a natural and positive way,
by creating relevant, affirming images of that community, or
by not neutralising the uniqueness of the community and replace the local culture to match what we think visitors expect.
Community tourism does:
employ local people,
appreciate what is local,
bring together many micro experiences in the community to create a positive image of that community,
use local produce and resources,
tells the true story of the local community from its perspective
is aware of local history,
welcomes without discrimination
empowers the pride of our people in their community and country.
Click here to take part in our questionnaire for tourism businesses
Through the activities of Dolan we aim to ensure that the positive aspects of community tourism are integral to the local tourism sector. We are confident that we can demonstrate an alternative and successful way forward.
Dolan's Community Tourism Network has prepared a questionnaire that will allow us to build a picture of what impact the covid crisis has had on businesses in our sector.
This is also your opportunity to comment on our definition of community tourism.
The questionnaire responses will help us plan our work for the future.