As many developing countries look to exploit natural resources as their primary means of development, the worry is that the rush to provide desperately needed income generating opportunities will leave the ecology of these countries in direly exploited condition at the expense of future generations. Who can blame the current generation for wanting to provide opportunity for their children and families. As a country that remains landlocked , far away from major waterways and dependant on often unstable neighbours to export the goods that are available, Uganda is in need of an alternative path to development.
While tourism will not provide all the answers to Uganda’s development goals, it is an under served market when compared to other east African nations holding similar gifts. With Uganda’s relatively new political stability, incredible ecological gifts and a culture of incredible hospitality, it’s a nation ideally suited to exploit a lucrative tourism market. Though with 86% of Ugandans living in a rural community, the need to find ways to diffuse tourism income outside of Kampala is hugely important should this industry deliver on it’s development potential.
Enter the concept of Community Tourism. In brief, Community Tourism holds benefiting communities who would normally exist outside the traditional sphere of tourism as it’s primary goal. It brings into the industry often rural and marginalized communities who are willing to offer services, accomodations experiences and stories in exchange for tourism related incomes. These communities offer their traditional cultures and environments as thier biggest draw and as such are given a way to create income by promoting and sustaining them.
In our view, Uganda is an ideally suited destination to make the most of this form of adventure! The communities outside the national parks aren’t currently seeing the benefits of the incredible biodiversity inside the reserves and as such have no incentive to maintain them or protect the incredible wildlife inside. These communities have incredibly rich cultural heritages that have survived for thousands of years and are entirely different from our own. They are in desperate need of income to educate their young populations and finally they are overwhelmingly warm hosts who take pride in telling their story and showing off their way of life to others.
We feel that working with organizations like these and ensuring that the proceeds from our tours find thier way back into the communities that host us is an essential part of our success as a responsisble operator. It allows us to provide incredible experiences to you our clients while truly changing lives! What an exciting way to do business!
We can’t wait to get further involved with these communities and bring incredible experiences to you and to the communities that will host us for our time in Uganda! Stay tuned for more!
The Barefoot Team