September 5, 2014

Tourism and community based development

Tourism and community based development

Tourism and community based development

by Yishak Yared | This year’s International Day of Tourism 2014 will be observed on 27 September under the Theme “Tourism and Community Based Development”. The relevance behind the theme is that the development of tourism in a given country not only enables countries as an entity to accumulate wealth but also the whole community becomes beneficiary of the smokeless industry.

Tourists have variety and different interests when they come to visit to a given country. Some would be interested in the wild life of the country they come to visit. Others come to enjoy arch deco buildings, historical sites, the traditions and customs of the society, and countless interests. There are tourists who come to enjoy the heat of the sun and get relieved from the severe winter cold and snow in the countries they reside, mainly from Europe and North America.

However, when tourist come to visit a country there are many elements that they need to find. They first and foremost need security, a place in which they could rest, clean and comfortable hotels, clean and available water supply, and good communication network system through which they could stay connected either with their families or with their business enterprises.

Where does Eritrea stand in these categories that are essential for tourism attraction? Eritrea is one from the very few African countries that is proud for its tranquility and with no security threat that could endanger the safety of tourists. Any one visitor could roam anywhere and at any time to a place of his/her preference in the country. He/she does not need to worry even for an iota of any kind of crime, robbery or assault.

The Eritrean people are known for their hospitability. By tradition, from the time of millennia, any stranger that comes from a far and has no place to spend the night, could go to any house he finds in his way and ask for help confident that that he will get it. He is not asked to pay anything and the host family provides him with food and a place to spend the night. That is Eritrea’s deep rooted culture that has been transferred through generations. Even though to date with civilization hotels and other social service provision facilities have developed that need finance for their running cost and people are asked to pay for the service they are provided, the culture of hospitability is still intact. Eritreans are people which they give back any item they find on the street to its rightful owner. Hence, tourists have not to worry that they will lose their property while visiting the place of their interest.

In the years of independence a lot has been done to develop the infrastructure of the country. There is no village in Eritrea that is not connected with roads. Some might be dirty roads but still any one could drive and reach the place of his destination even with small vehicles. Telecommunication services are being introduced to the whole country and villages, even those far from the city centers, are becoming beneficiaries. Many villages and all cities and towns have electricity supply. People have access to health centers and educational facilities in their vicinities.

Hotels are available in all major cities in the country and are clean and comfortable. All hotels serve traditional and international menus.

In the Eritrean context of observing the International Tourism Day, it is being devoted to the Significance of Dams in the development of the Tourism Industry. As we all know water is one of the essential elements for human survival. People could live for some days without food but it is unthinkable without water. It is said that water is life.

Tourists need water supply for different purposes. They need to have clean water to drink; they need water for bathing, washing their cloths and to clean up latrines and other items of their daily use. If there is no availability of water no one should expect tourists to come and visit their areas, be it a historical place or place of interest to a tourist.

To date we claim that a large percentage of Eritreans are beneficiaries of potable water supply. Where is the source of the water? Since independence the Government of Eritrea, as part of its endeavors of nation building process, many small and big dams have been and are being built in every corner of the country in a bid to enable every member of the society have access to clean water supply. These dams are aimed not only for drinking but also for the development of irrigation farming.

The supply of potable water and the development of irrigation farming have direct connection with the development of tourism industry. The availability of clean water is essential for the development of tourism industry. And with dams small and big agro-industries will be established. And the agro industries would have their own attraction for tourists especially to those who are interested in agro-tourism.

The availability of the above mentioned necessities would definitely have the potential and attraction for tourism development. And the tourism development would create an opportunity for the society to improve its livelihood. Tourists guide institutions would develop and these on their part would create employment opportunities for citizens. People would engage in selling souvenirs and on the top making income for their families they would become agents for acquainting their tradition and culture to the tourists. With the development of tourism social service provision institutions will flourish and with that many citizens would get the opportunity of employment.

The theme of this year’s International Day of Tourism, “Tourism and Community Based Development” is to highlight and encourage that countries and communities should work for the development of tourism and lead a better life. For the development of tourism means the country is peaceful, its people are humble and hospitable, the country is striving to develop its infrastructure. Tourists don’t come simply for the sake of coming, they need to find a place of attraction and the facilities they require.

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