The SUS-TOUR project was implemented from June 2015-March 2018 under an action titled, ‘Enhancing sustainable tourism innovation for community empowerment in Kenya (SUS-TOUR)’. The implementing partners for the project were Ecotourism Kenya, the Federation of Community Based Tourism in Kenya (FECTO) and the German-based Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Production and Consumption (CSCP). It was funded by the European Union through the framework of projects of Switch Africa Green.
The overall objective of the SUS-TOUR project was to contribute to sustainable development of tourism in Kenya through promoting customer-oriented innovation and marketing of community-based tourism (CBT) to foster improvement in rural livelihoods and conservation of culture and natural environment. The project aimed to address the key challenges CBTs in Kenya face including:
- Weak business principles
- Product development is mostly community driven instead of market-driven
- Marketing challenges
- Lack of operational policy framework which prohibits stakeholder engagement
- Lack of access to sustaining training mechanism or technical support
A major outcome of the project was the development of tools that can be used to effectively capacitate community-based tourism organizations (CBTOs) and CBT enthusiasts on how to address the common challenges faced by CBTOs. The tools developed included:
- A Training Workbook on Sustainable CBT Strategy and Innovation
- A Marketing Guideline for community-based tourism organizations (CBTO), tour operators and CBT enthusiasts that outline effective marketing strategies for community-based tourism (Available on SUS-TOUR website)
- A CBTO Checklist based on 10 principles of community -based tourism (CBT). The tool enables a CBTO to diagnose its status as a structured initiative. A CBT Manual developed from the
- Do it yourself (DIY) toolkits for CBT on sustainable consumption and production, product innovation and marketing and communication.
- A CBT Guideline that describes some good practice CBTOs in Kenya
Apart from developing toolkits, the project also developed policy recommendations for CBT in Kenya and built linkages between CBTOs and tour operators.
The activities of the project mainly involved toolkits have been used for training and capacitating various groups:
- 2 workshops for CBT that included various participants including CBOs, tour operators, civil society organizations, the national and county governments. The workshop informed the development of SUS-TOUR tools and policy recommendations for CBT
- 1 graduate capacity building training on CBT DIY toolkits was conducted in November 2017 to enhance the involvement of youth in CBT. Fifteen youths completed the training
- The workbook was used in the Training of Trainers (ToT) to train 19 CBTOs, 11 TOs, 33 lecturers, and 21 county representatives guiding CBT practitioners to improve understanding on the market, stakeholder expectation and developing a sustainable business strategy
- The DIY toolkits were used to continuously mentor 10 CBTO. Mentorship aimed at improving sustainable consumption and production, product innovation and marketing among the CBTOs. A major outcome of the mentorship project was the development/improvement of itineraries and communication channels for each of the CBTOs in the mentorship.
- Disseminating toolkits to universities (Moi University and Masai Mara University) and selected county governments
The SUS-TOUR project developed toolkits in sustainable product innovation, marketing and communication, and sustainable production and consumption. It is expected that the toolkits will assist in the structuring of CBT in Kenya beyond the project duration. Moreover, the policy recommendations developed by the project can enrich discussions on how to improve the governance of CBTOs in Africa.