Community-based tourism: economic incentive for conservation

Published: 30 March 2016
Last edited: 26 August 2016
After initial assessments to determine what could be the most appropriate livelihood activities that would further encourage conservation action in the landscape, the Community-Based Tourism (CBT) plan was developed and the community was trained to run the programme. The CBT programme comprises promotion of home-stay units, home restaurants for food, a cultural group to showcase Monpa art and culture, organized treks through the conserved areas and provision of trained service providers (guides, managers, cooks, porters, etc) to support all of these. The community has sought to include as many families as possible in the programme so as to ensure spread of programme benefits. The CBT in Thembang, one of the project villages, is now in its seventh year with revenues increasing four-fold since inception, amounting to 23,000 USD as of March 31, 2015. The CBT was successfully replicated in other project villages based on biodiversity values. In similar line, WWF-India is also diversifying income generation activities to other forms of rural enterprises for conservation impacts. Recently, it facilitated the process to establish a unit to manufacture Tibetan incense stick with available forest resources in Pangchen valley.

Classifications

Category
Sustainable livelihoods
Scale of implementation
Subnational

Enabling factors

Baseline information is collected on various parameters including family income and energy usage to decide suitable activities. The baseline report also helps to assess our intervention impacts and • Awareness/ conservation education programmes for larger community to enable a thorough understanding of what CBT entails. • Community willingness to actively participate, acquire the knowhow and implement the required actions. • Unique selling points in terms of cultural and biodiversity values to attract people for the CBT model to be sustainable.

Lessons learned

A detailed participatory assessment is very crucial in the implementation of any income generating activities (IGAs). The IGAs should be developed jointly with community members rather than in a “top down approach” and encourage communities to take up activities they are familiar with. We encouraged IGAs that have direct linkages with the nature conservation and culture. Participatory planning and ensuring people’s participation is very important in livelihood interventions. For conservation impacts, there should be a direct link between nature conservation and livelihood initiative. There are some economic incentive programmes that have been successful in raising per capita income of the community, but have had very little conservation impact, or sometimes conservation status even deteriorates. Therefore, identification of a proper set of IGA and enabling people’s participation is the key of success.

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