Local natural and cultural heritage assets and community based tourism: Challenges and opportunities
Community based tourism (CBT) is seen as an opportunity which mass tourism does not offer for, especially, rural communities to develop their natural and cultural assets into tourism activities for the benefit of the community. The point of CBT is that the community, collectively and individually, gains a livelihood from home-stay activities, tourist guiding, producing crafts from the local environment, offering traditional food and drinks, and generally organising, exploiting and maintaining the natural and cultural environment. Community tourism development includes all the functions of planning, development, marketing and management of the natural and cultural heritage, and requires community decision-making. However, the communities under review face critical challenges which need to be converted into opportunities, including own-control of facilities, security of natural and cultural resources, infrastructure, carrying-capacity of the environment, regulatory frameworks, and skills development. The research took the form of case studies at local villages, of which Noqhekwane is the subject of this article. The study revealed that sufficient natural and cultural attractions exist in Noqhekwane, but that the threats identified to both cultural and physical environments are serious.
Keywords: Challenges, community based tourism, opportunities, tourism