Turismo di comunità

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Il turismo di comunità, Maurizio Davolio, presidente AITR 

Il concetto di turismo di comunità 

Esistono varie definizioni di turismo di comunità, che presentano fra di loro forti analogie e alcune differenze, che derivano verosimilmente da sensibilità diverse ed esperienze maturate in contesti particolari; ma si tratta tutto sommato di sfumature, di sottolineature più che di differenze di sostanza.
Partiamo dalla definizione che viene data da Tourism Concern, storica e prestigiosa organizzazione britannica impegnata nella critica al turismo e nella diffusione di idee di turismo responsabile (www.tourismconcern.org)

Tourism that benefits local people
Community tourism (sometimes called community-based tourism) is a form of tourism which aims to include and benefit local communities, particularly indigenous peoples and villagers in the rural South (i.e. ‘developing world’). For instance, villagers might host tourists in their village, managing the scheme communally and sharing the profits. There are many types of community tourism project, including many in which the ‘community’ works with a commercial tour operator, but all community tourism projects should give local people a fair share of the benefits/profits and a say in deciding how incoming tourism is managed.
Community tourism should…
– Be run with the involvement and consent of local communities. (Local people should participate in planning and managing the tour.)
– Give a fair share of profits back to the local community.(Ideally this will include community projects (health, schools, etc).)
– Involve communities rather than individuals. (Working with individuals can disrupt social structures.)
– Be environmentally sustainable. (Local people must be involved if conservation projects are to succeed.)
– Respect traditional culture and social structures.
– Have mechanisms to help communities cope with the impact of western tourists.
– Keep groups small to minimise cultural / environmental impact.
– Brief tourists before the trip on appropriate behaviour.
– Not make local people perform inappropriate ceremonies, etc.
– Leave communities alone if they don’t want tourism. (People should have the right to say ‘no’ to tourism.)

Come si vede da questa definizione gli aspetti salienti del turismo di comunità possono essere così riassunti:

1. Ruolo della comunità locale nel decidere la programmazione e la gestione del turismo; la comunità può anche decidere di non volere il turismo
2. Ricadute economiche eque sulla comunità, anche in termini di sostegno a progetti di interesse collettivo
3. Sostenibilità ambientale del turismo, anche attraverso l’accoglienza a piccoli gruppi
4. Rispetto della cultura tradizionale e delle strutture sociali
5. Difesa della comunità locale dagli impatti esterni, che possono essere ridotti anche attraverso un’adeguata preparazione dei turisti al viaggio
6. No alla folclorizzazione e banalizzazione della vita e della cultura locale

Vediamo ora la descrizione fornita da responsibletravel.com, un portale britannico molto affermato nel turismo responsabile (www.responsibletravel.com):

A community by definition implies individuals with some kind of collective responsibility, and the ability to make decisions by representative bodies. 

Community based tourism is tourism in which local residents (often rural, poor and economically marginalised) invite tourists to visit their communities with the provision of overnight accommodation. 

The residents earn income as land managers, entrepreneurs, service and produce providers, and employees. At least part of the tourist income is set aside for projects which provide benefits to the community as a whole. 

Community based tourism enables the tourist to discover local habitats and wildlife, and celebrates and respects traditional cultures, rituals and wisdom. The community will be aware of the commercial and social value placed on their natural and cultural heritage through tourism, and this will foster community based conservation of these resources. 

The tourist accommodation and facilities will be of sufficient standard for Western visitors, albeit those expecting simple rural accommodation. The community will be required to have continuous access to a phone (which might be required for medical assistance) and daily access to email (which will be required by operators to confirm bookings). 

The community may choose to partner with a private sector partner to provide capital, clients, marketing, tourist accommodation or other expertise. Subject to agreement to the ideals of supporting community development and conservation, and to planning the tourism development in partnership with the community, this partner may or may not own part of the tourism enterprise.

In questa descrizione si entra nel merito di alcuni aspetti aggiuntivi.
Viene menzionato uno degli effetti positivi del turismo di comunità: non soltanto la collettività riceve un beneficio dal turismo, ma acquista anche consapevolezza del valore sociale e anche commerciale del proprio patrimonio naturalistico e culturale ed è pertanto stimolata alla sua conservazione.
Si entra anche nel merito della qualità del servizio di ospitalità e di aspetti di natura organizzativa: standard adeguati ad ospiti che vengono, si dice, dall’Occidente (cioè da paesi ricchi), ancorché preparati ad una ospitalità rurale semplice, accesso al telefono, esistenza della posta elettronica.
Viene citata la possibilità di collaborazione commerciale con partner imprenditoriali anche esterni alla comunità, ma che si dichiarano d’accordo sull’obiettivo di sostenere lo sviluppo della comunità e di pianificare il turismo in partenariato con la comunità stessa. Dunque, esclusione di forme di imprenditorialità di rapina o speculative.
In letteratura esiste un’infinità di definizioni e di descrizioni, il loro esame sistematico e approfondito ci porterebbe ad una trattazione che va oltre gli obiettivi del presente manuale.

Concludiamo la rassegna con la descrizione fornita da Community Empowerment Network (www.endruralpoverty.org)

Many of the world’s most beautiful resources exist in endangered habitats and vulnerable communities. Community-based ecotourism is a form of ecotourism that emphasizes the development of local communities and allows for local residents to have substantial control over, and involvement in, its development and management, and a major proportion of the benefits remain within the community. Community-based ecotourism should foster sustainable use and collective responsibility, but it also embraces individual initiatives within the community. 
With this form of ecotourism, local residents share the environment and their way of life with visitors, while increasing local income and building local economies. By sharing activities such as festivals, homestays, and the production of artisan goods, community-based tourism allows communities to participate in the modern global economy while cultivating a sustainable source of income and maintaining their way of life. A successful model of community-based tourism works with existing community initiatives, utilizes community leaders, and seeks to employ local residents so that income generated from tourism stays in the community and maximizes local economic benefits. 
Although ecotourism often promises community members improved livelihoods and a source of employment, irresponsible tourism practices can exhaust natural resources and exploit local communities. It is essential that approaches to community-based ecotourism projects be a part of a larger community development strategy and carefully planned with community members to ensure that desired outcomes are consistent with the community’s culture and heritage. In many ways, participants are not employees, but managers. Community-based tourism initiatives decrease poverty not only by increasing income but also by providing residents of rural communities with the tools and knowledge necessary for long-term critical thinking and decision-making. Tourism is no panacea; community-based ecotourism and responsible tourism should be part of wider sustainable development strategies.

CEN’s principles for community-based tourism
Identity: Respect and preserve all the characteristics of the environment, help residents reclaim historical practices, revitalize productive activities, highlight the ethnic background of the population, and highlight the unique aspects of the locality, such as topography, climate, architecture, cuisine and handicrafts.
Roots and Customs: Highlight local cultural practices so that communities share their cultures and traditions with tourists with authenticity. Invaluable educational opportunities such as homestays and town-hall-style round of talks are encouraged so that tourists and local community members can mutually share cultural aspects such as food, music, folklore, and goods. Both visitor and community cultures will always be treated with appreciation and respect.
Ecological Consciousness and Harmony: Seek to conserve natural ecosystems and cultures by being a part of a larger development plan. All plans have a low impact on the local environment while highlighting the unique aspects of the locality, such as topography, climate, and architecture. The conservation of nature and rigorous concern with the environment influence the development of infrastructure for community-based ecotourism activities (i.e. building houses, roads, showers, etc.).
Local Control: Local control of the community-based ecotourism industry. Local leadership leads plans and encourages clear and transparent decision-making. Community members actively make decisions on strategies and acceptable levels of tourism based upon the community’s culture, heritage and vision. Strategies also equip local communities with the tools and knowledge necessary for decision-making, and to build effective structures to enable the community to influence, manage and benefit from ecotourism development and practice. 
Sustainable Economic Development: Stimulate the local economy by generating income through the sustainable use of natural resources. All plans seek to ensure that the local population has an equitable share in benefits.

La descrizione del turismo di comunità, considerato come una forma di ecoturismo, è in questo caso ampia e approfondita.
Vengono posti in evidenza alcuni aspetti particolarmente significativi: il turismo di comunità come componente e risultato di una strategia generale di sviluppo di un territorio; il suo impatto non solo economico ma anche strutturale e infrastrutturale (costruzione di edifici, strade, attivazione di servizi) ma pur sempre in un quadro di sovranità della popolazione nell’assumere le decisioni, di rispetto della cultura locale, di sostenibilità ambientale e di condivisione dei benefici generati dal turismo.
Viene anche posta in rilievo la possibilità offerta ai visitatori o ospiti di condividere con gli abitanti e componenti della comunità la vita culturale, le tradizioni, la cucina, la musica, in un contesto di rispetto reciproco.

Si potrebbe continuare nella rassegna, ma ci fermiamo qui, ci pare che il concetto sia sufficientemente delineato e che le descrizioni siano esaustive.

Per leggere tutto il contributo di Maurizio Davolio clicca qui

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