GreenTour Project (European Union funded under the Switch Africa Green) has been actively engaging CBTOs since 2018. From the inception with three exemplary CBTOS- Il Ngwesi Lodge, Twala Tenebo Cultural Center, and Ngare Ndare Forest Trust. the project has engaged CBTOs across the country and even beyond. It is worth noting that CBTOs engaged excel in women and youth integration, cultural preservation, and environmental conservation.
Let’s take a look at the year’s community-centered activities.
A representative from the European Union conducted a project donor official visit as part of monitoring the project’s impact on community enterprises. The CBTOs that were visited were Il Ngwesi Lodge and Twala Tenebo Cultural Center. Both of the organizations were able to show improvements in their operations from engagement with the project. They also identified areas of further engagement and support through the project could support in terms of capacity building for each of their respective areas.
Four CBTOs in the project namely; Basecamp Maasai Brand, Il Ngwesi Lodge, Twala Tenebo Cultural Center, and Ngare Ndare Forest Trust, were engaged in a unique learning and cultural exchange in Rwanda, at the 10th Cultural Heritage Preservation Festival hosted by the Red Rocks Rwanda. This took place from 29th August 2022 to 2nd September 2022. The theme was Cultural Sustainability and Conservation.
Key highlights from the activity were;
-tree planting on the banks of Mukungwa River,
– panel discussion on the challenges and successes of community tourism initiatives.
– forum discussions with Red Rocks Initiatives leaders
– Gorilla Naming KWITA IZINA Ceremony at the Volcanoes National Park
-The inauguration of Rwanda Community Tourism Association (RCTA) Head offices in Musanze
With the objective of improving the competencies, skills, and abilities of the workforce in the community-based tourism space in Kenya, the project rolled out an online survey targeting community-based organizations and enterprises towards the end of the month. It was run on Ecotourism Kenya’s social media platforms and circulated within her networks. This was to help identify areas that could inform better planning and engaging CBTOs.
A three-day capacity-building forum was organized in Nairobi on the 4th-6th of October 2022. This involved a two-day training and one-day coaching at the Magical Kenya Travel Expo(MKTE) 2022 at the Bomas of Kenya. The training topics were Marketing & Communications, Product Pricing, and Sales and Networking techniques. The ten CBTO representatives went through coaching on business linkages with Travelife certified tour operators who are also within the GreenTour Kenya project. They also had the opportunity to meet and connect with other industry players at MKTE 2022.
Il Ngwesi Eco-Lodge was nominated for the 29th World Travel Awards in the World’s Leading Eco-Lodge category. They also won the Ecowarrior Awards 2022 in the Best Community Tourism Initiative category. They serve as an encouragement to other community-based enterprises/organizations that responsible tourism is rewarding. We are delighted to have them make such strides in the tourism industry.
The final upskilling activities for CBTOs within the project were done recently in Naivasha and Malindi from the 14th-18th November 2022. A total of seventeen CBTO representatives, 7 in Malindi and 10 in Naivasha underwent an interactive training that was informed by the online survey conducted in August 2022. The capacity building was focused on CBTO Product Development and Diversification, Financial Management, Community-Led Conservation, Organizational Development and Assertive Behaviour, and the Concept of Artisanal Centres and Souvenir Shops.
The training was complemented by practical coaching through visits to artisanal centers. These locations were Malindi Tourist Market, Bahari Women Group, Anzuki Recycle Designers and MSO Over the World in Malindi, and Cresent Island and Eserian Cultural Center in Naivasha. In addition to the knowledge gained, new networks were formed among the CBTOs, and healthy competition, collaborations, and knowledge sharing were encouraged.
The GreenTour Kenya project has assisted in identifying gaps in the community tourism space and has made considerable efforts to fill them. The number of CBTOs actively engaged in the project has increased over time as well. This signifies the project is delivering quality and timely support. All these activities are highlighted on Ecotourism Kenya’s social media platforms under #GreenTourWednesday.
Are you interested to be a part of community-based tourism organizations/enterprises activities or engagements?
Kindly contact Marxine Waite