Community tourism in Eswatini has, over the years, offered domestic and international tourists the chance to immerse in the untainted and authentic atmosphere of the country’s vibrant communities.
Recognising the remarkable potential that community tourism has in improving the livelihoods of EmaSwati, the ETA’s Product Development Department hosted a Community Based Tourism Workshop for Boards of Trustees on 27 September at The George Hotel.
A number of projects have been set up in recent years that are specifically aimed at involving local communities directly in tourism operations – form craft markets and lodges, to managing ancient rock art sites to hiking tours on the country’s best-known peaks.
Inspired by this year’s theme for World Tourism Day, Rethinking Tourism, the training aimed to sensitise board members and managers from community tourism establishments on the importance of adopting proper corporate governance and equipping them with business best practices. This was to ensure that communities are not left behind in conversations on the tourism we want and how they too can participate in the evolution of tourism characterised by digital trends and advanced management styles.
Presentations were made by ETA’s Research Department, the Eswatini Institute of Management and Public Administration (SIMPA) and the Chairperson of the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) South Africa.
Presenting on the recent tourism statistics, ETA’ Research and Statistics Officer, Sebenzile Ginindza, revealed that community tourism recorded an alarming 4.7% in the study of activities booked by day visitors in Eswatini. Game reserves were the highest at 51.5%, followed by culture and heritage at 23.8% and nature reserves at 20%.
“We need to all rethink how we encourage locals and international tourists to spend more time in Eswatini. For example, we should be thinking differently on how we attract more business visitors with the new culture of working from home which has allowed professionals to do work from any part of the world,” said Ginindza.