Tourism activities have become global phenomenon and have proven to be one of the main sources of national and local economy benefiting myriads. It is also regarded as an expensive means to alleviating poverty in the developing countries due to its multifaceted beneficial nature.
Community – Based Tourism, which is a passion driven project of Wild Mountain Adventure aiming at giving maximum return to the community and at the same time to ensure no carbon footprint is left in its surrounding environment by empowering the local people to be more aware of the value of their community assets – their culture, heritage, cuisine, lifestyle and the surrounding environment. We have been supporting numerous events and projects among the local communities with a aim of developing community-based tourism activities, where the main attraction for tourists is to experience the traditional way of life of a small communities, by offering unique local experiences to thousands of travelers.
Importantly, with rapid changing in holiday purchase intention of the global tourists, we invite and enable tourist to discover the values of local community by offering an opportunity to stay in the local home, have a glimpses into local traditional life, their habitats and wildlife, celebrates, respect the very traditional cultures, rituals and wisdom. It help making difference in individual’s life and community at large by mobilizing their assets to convert into income generating by offering a more diverse and worthwhile experience to visitors.
Our aim, products and services model is based on the believe to deliver fascinating holiday experience of destination Bhutan to both local and international tourists who are driven by experiential and responsible travel curiosities into a country where more than 80 percent of its 700, 000 population are dependent on agriculture and lives in rural areas.
- Help the community to respect and preserve the environment characteristics such as topography, climate, architecture, cuisine and local crafts.
- Highlight unique aspects of the local cultural practices with authenticity, share their cultures and traditional values with tourist with authenticity, so that both tourist and local community will always uphold the cultural values with appreciation and respect.
- Educate local for environment consciousness and their traditional cultural harmony by being part of the larger development plan having low impact on the local environment and highlighting the unique aspects of the locality.
- Empower local community the awareness of their community assets – into income generating projects through sustainable use of natural resource and their community assets which seek to ensure that equitable share and benefits.
Positive & Negative Affect on Local Communities
The Negative Impact
Destination Bhutan has been fairly known of its existence to the outside world by virtue of its tiny landmass. The country has remained in isolation for centuries. However, the leap of the modernization in the twentieth century brought a dramatic new look and Bhutan has gained international popularity due to its unexposed well-preserved cultural values, and untouched biodiversity. Tourist to this tiny kingdom has been increasing year after year and it is virtually important to know that tourism in general can have a negative impact on local communities. The shining cultural values can be devalued, loss, disturbed, and destroyed by mass tourism because of competitions and jealousy. Many travelers fail to research before they venture off to a strange land and do things without respect and considerations. Because of this simple mistake, travelers are causing offence to the local people and their surrounding environment, which in turn making difficult for other visitors. It is virtually important being as the tour operator to inform our travelers and be considered by our value visitors to make an effort to fit in yourself and limit the impact of your presence and show respect to the traditional cultural values of the community that you are in.
Loss of Cultural Values
Loss of cultural values can take in various forms. As a company, Wild Mountain Adventure is taking a cautious step to safeguarding the cultural essence from the negative influence of tourism. One of the major negative impacts today in Bhutan can be seen in the production of souvenirs. Today in many of the areas, when tourist arrives, the local people realized that they can make money by selling their crafts and products to the visitors. Many of the crafts and products sold by local people have a religious and cultural significance and these products are just seen as good rather than buying. Thereby the local people reshape and redesign the products to fit for buying. Therefore, many of the cultural values and products are changed to meet the demands of the tourist and loose all cultural values. On the other hand, many of the souvenirs that tourist sees and buys in the local souvenirs shops are ninety-nine percent products exported from India, Nepal and Thailand. This is one of the reasons of losing the authentic local crafts and product’s value and in turn loss all cultural value.
Exchanging traditional food, dress and customs with those of the travelers are another issue facing today in Bhutan. The local communities in every part of the country are adjusting to the needs and demands of the visitors. Whereby, to fulfill the demands of every individual visitors need the essence of the local cultural value is taking away from their homeland. Therefore, travelers in order to travel responsibly and accepting the surrounding values is virtually important.
Bhutan is the sacred land with deep spiritual people with many religious temples and monasteries dotted throughout. All of these ingredients are the cultural identity of the country, where we try to share with the visitors. In a way, many of our visitors are frequently disrespectful of local customs. Both man and woman often walk around in revealing cloths when the social norm is to properly cover yourself. This behavior is to be considered particularly in a place of worship and spiritual sites, where ones individual behavior can devalue cultural norm and can cause the local people to stray from their beliefs and customs.
With respect to international visitations, Bhutan receives visitors from all over the world. There are numerous well-established hotels, resorts, guesthouse and internationally claimed chain hotels offering all the modern amenities, and there are many more to come in the near future. Competitions in the arena of using local resource are the huge problem in tourism. Overuse of natural resource like water, destroying the grazing land for resort development, and denial access of local people to the area that have been set up as tourist destinations are the major issue causing the local community to refrain from maintaining their traditional lifestyle.
The Positive Impact
Tourism in Bhutan is viewed as the vital aspect of economic since from the initiation of modern development in the early 70s. In fact, it is deemed as the only industries that generates hard currency for the country. As of now tourism has been a booming business creating myriads of jobs in hospitality, tourism and several other tourism related business. Tourism in general can have positive impact on culture and minimize the negative impacts, if you travel responsibly. Our cores elements of sustainable tourism are that we take into account the views and aspirations of the local community. Their support in showing us their traditional cultural value; local crafts, rural lifestyle and their involvement are the major contribution for the development of our industries and appreciated by our visitors. We work together with local communities in every location, by not disturbing and hindering their cultural values and surrounding environment, creating identifiable benefits and non-identifiable benefits to the local communities.
Local Facility Development
As long as the welfare of the local community is not disregarded, social and economic, benefits of tourism can reach the local communities. It can bring developments in the rural areas and improve the living standard of the community by improving the local facilities like building community roads, improve water supplies and encourage people regarding hygienic living. Therefore, responsible tourism and socio-economic can help impact the local communities in developing various local infrastructures like recreational and entertainment facilities, improve health facilities, provide support for local schools, and support projects that increases the community well-being.
Tourism has proven one of the most effective means to drive job creation and economic development for the local communities. Working together with the local communities opens employment opportunities and provides direct jobs to the community, such as guide, driver, housekeeping, cook and helpers in many other fields. Tourist expenditure generates income for the local and can lead to the alleviation of poverty in a country like Bhutan where heavily relies on tourism.
Tourism can bring about a real sense of prides and identity to the communities. When tourist comes to see an authentic local culture, natural surroundings, heritage and art, by seeing this distinct characteristics of their way of life, history and culture, tourism can cause indigenous people to revive their old traditions and encourage the preservation of traditional customs which may be at risk of or otherwise soon be lost to globalization.