“Challenges Marketing Community based Ecotourism”

Mr. Peter Richards, Marketing Manager, The Responsible, Ecological, Social Tours Project (REST), Thailand


Thai NGO...Background: Community Development, Volunteerism & Participatory Training...




What is Community based Tourism?

‘CBT’ Markets and Marketing

Challenges Marketing ‘CBT’

Practical Recommendations


Community Based Tourism Development Process

Community Participation

Product Development








Participatory CBT Marketing


Marketing & Planning

Product Development

Monitoring & Evaluation


Challenges Marketing CBT

CHALLENGES 4 P’s Product Price Place Promotion


Challenges Marketing CBT - Product

CBT is Dynamic by nature and difficult to standardize

Service Expectations Vs. Local Product

Many of the benefits of CBT are ‘behind the scenes.’

What should come first – product or market?

Low product diversity / off the beaten track?

High demand Vs low volume and ‘carrying capacity’


Challenges Marketing CBT- Price

A ‘fairly priced’ product in a market saturated with cheap competitors

Who pays for training?

Community Commitment to Price Commitment!


Challenges Marketing CBT- Place

Rural tourism products are presented far from the point of sale

Decision to buy is based on quality of marketing rather than of product


Challenges Marketing CBT- Promotion

Challenging issues at the heart of the CBT USP

Selective Marketing Vs. integrating CBT with other destinations which sell well

Inappropriate promotion by marketing intermediaries

With limited, relevant skills, how far can communities participate in marketing?


Challenges Marketing CBT

Thai Tour Operators > Commitment? > Resistance

Independent Travelers > Communication > Price > Forum


Community Participation in CBT Marketing – Why?

The greatest challenge of marketing CBT is who and how many guests should be welcomed

Local communities have a lot to gain from tourism development, but they have even more to loose...resource base, culture, security...

Many key stakeholders are concentrating on $ and volume... “Out of sight is out of mind...”

We must all assist local communities to have more voice and choice in rural village tourism


Recommendations for practitioners

Target the right partners and product lines, and Target the right guests!

Communicate and educate

Be realistic and honest about limitations

Ensure Community Participation in Marketing

Seek out and support genuine community based tourism and offer it to your guests

Train your staff – knowledge, Skills, Attitude

Dedicate a fixed % of your product / advertising budget to sustainable tourism / CBT products

Request your government tourism organizations for assistance to partner with CBT projects



Demand for Community based Tourism

“Homestay is always the highlight for passengers.” Intrepid Travel, Australia

“Experience to enable them to truly appreciate another culture” Go Bush, Australia

“Authenticity. Our clients want to meet local people and learn about their daily life and culture”, Sawadee Reizen, The Netherlands

“A cultural experience, a holiday, and to do something worthwhile so that they [guests] feel that they have left behind something positive during their travels.” The Imaginative Traveler, UK

“To get an impression how village life goes on, and know more about peoples opinions and way of living.” Hauser, Germany

“An experience which goes beyond the average and gives guests a real insight into the culture they are visiting” Go Differently, UK