An innovative tool for improving the competitiveness of community based tourism
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The overall project aim is to work with existing community-based tourism development plans to identify the development aspirations and needs for each of these communities and incorporate these into a 3D Landscape Theatre tool. In each of the pilot areas the potential for community based tourism development is mapped out, the tourism potential is assessed objectively, development plans are made and a step-by-step road map is created to help the pilot areas to achieve their objectives. The communities will be engaged with the development and decision making processes. Local communities will have the final say on what kind of development will be implemented and how! In addition the project provides support for these communities to take these development steps in forms of research, capacity building and networking. The different development scenarios will be made more visual by using 3D modelling of the impacts of the development on the landscape. The process in the pilot areas will be closely monitored and the best practices compiled as a tool, which can be used in enhancing community-based tourism in other locations.
A new approaches to rural tourism development – why?
Due to the fragmented ownership of land in Finland and Estonia, the support from communities is essential when aiming to provide attractive environments and landscapes for tourism. Traditionally however, tourism development activities have been very trade focused, production orientated and targeted only to SMEs.
Especially in small rural communities social acceptance of tourism development is nevertheless a key success factor for SMEs. In order to successfully develop a tourisitic destination, whole communities must be brought together to give their support. When decisions are made locally, people are more likely to feel „ownership“ towards them and sustainability of the activities is more assured.
Local people are at the centre of development processes in community baced tourism. However, they are not often aware of tourists´ needs nor what customers in new tourism markets expect in terms of quality and design. Therefore, they can benefit from external discussions and expertise in developing their products.
Comcot for community-based tourism!
The aim of the COMCOT project is to promote community based sustainable tourism and develop the capacity and networks for local people in order to assure the sustainability of tourism development activities. In addition the aim is to create an innovative development tool for the use by tourism developers to provide abjective information on the torism potential for 5 pilot areas to support tourism related decision making in these areas.
Grass roots development in the pilot areas – a development tool for wider use!
Project activities can be devided into 3 categories:
1. assessing, evaluating and visualizing the tourism potential in the selected pilot regions
2. capacity building for key local people and developing their networks
3. creating the development tool for wider use and disseminating the results