Community Liaison and Support
Part of TOFTigers Best Practice Series
WHY IT'S IMPORTANT
Engaging with local communities and ensuring tourism brings them benefits lies at the heart of responsible tourism practice. Tourism can make a decisive, multi-faceted contribution towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals from poverty alleviation, health and nutrition to inclusive education, gender equality and access to water and clean energy.
India’s scheduled tribes are amongst the poorest people in the country. 37% of India’s rural communities are multidimensionally poor across at least a third of issues linked to health and nourishment, education and living standards such as lack of clean cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity and housing standards according to the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index. 47% of Nepal’s rural poor are identified as multidimensionally poor.
Independent research commissioned by TOFTigers in Madhya Pradesh and Ranthambhore, demonstrates the positive impact tourism can have on lives in rural villages with tourism infrastructure: improved education, social upliftment as well as significantly higher employment and local business income (see also Local Economy section).
Establishing good communication with your local community and providing support beyond employment is good for business as well as helping to achieve the SDG goals for inclusive prosperity in a sustainable world. It mitigates business risk through sharing the benefits of tourism, generates goodwill and positive attitudes to tiger and wildlife conservation amongst the community, and provides opportunities for your clients to experience and make a positive contribution to local life.
EXAMPLES OF GOOD PRACTICE
A pre-school founded and funded by Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge and Swissair staff is providing a free start for children from disadvantaged families – part of a broader programme of social support. Healthcare, two meals a day, uniforms, supplies and bursaries for further education are also provided.
Red Earth Kabini supports a twelve-bed hospital and a mobile clinic through local NGO NWTWS. It also runs medical camps in partnership with Swami Vivekannanda Youth Movement, part of its broader programme of community support.
Singinawa Conservation Foundation, set up by Singinawa Jungle Lodge, has provided rainwater harvesting for a primary school in Pench to secure their water supply. The Foundation has also provided water purifiers to households in its local village.
The Prakratik Society, set up by the owner of Khem Villas, has provided more than 600 biogas digesters to local villages around Ranthambhore providing clean cooking fuel for villagers and reducing dependence on wood.