How Cultural Tourism Contributes To Poverty Alleviation?

The batwa in Bwindi jungle

Whereas economists are left to think that poverty alleviation is dependent on the person’s income and finances, certain extent the latter isn’t true. Increase in productivity and income alone won’t contribute to poverty reduction but to allow individuals to have a wide sense of well being and avenues to express and make their own choices pertaining lives. That said, cultural tourism plays a significant role especially when it comes to poverty reduction. However, most travelers on safari to Africa are left to think that Africa is only for wildlife viewing and culture has been left out unexplored. With cultural tourism, a tourist has opportunity to interact with the locals and also engage in most of their daily activities and rituals thus rewarding them with authentic experiences. As a result, locals get encouraged to embrace their own cultures and in the long run, it becomes a booster for local economic growth.

To come up with culturally related tourism projects is one way in which tourist destinations can celebrate and market what makes their community rare from the rest and thus offers chance for authentic cultural exchange between different parties. Cultural tourism however contributes over 37% of the world’s tourism and it is believed to have a continued growth of at least 15% every year. In Rwanda and Uganda inclusive, this type of tourism is on its boom and it has enabled most local residents to explore more about other nations besides the revenue generated. In Rwanda one of the key cultural programmes that have stood for sometime is the Red Rocks Initiatives for Sustainable Development. It is a local nonprofit project and a leading example that entails how cultural tourism can be marketed or promoted to assist communities benefit from the tourism sector. This group has a long history of starting projects that promote cultural tourism especially within Volcanoes National Park a renowned mountain gorilla paradise in Rwanda.

In Uganda, you will find a number of cultural related tourism projects or programmes and one of them include the United Organization for Batwa Development in Uganda-a Batwa organization which strives to offer alternative livelihood for all the marginalized Batwa pygmies around Bwindi forest and Mgahinga National Park. Usually, such cultural organizations or programmes promote tour packages such as local home visits, art and craft demonstration, village tours, sitting by the campfire especially in the evening as you enjoy stories told by locals and many more.

In most cases, you need to have unique experiences and one of the ways for you to get out of the usual environment is by embarking on a cultural safari in Uganda or Rwanda. What is interesting is that most of the national parks where most safaris are conducted are also good for cultural experiences. This means that you can incorporate your for instance gorilla safari with cultural experiences whether in Bwindi National Park or Volcanoes National Park. While on cultural safari in Uganda or Rwanda, you are able to explore more about local residents’ daily activities, traditions, cultures and others that reward you with authentic African experiences.

In a village tour for instance, visitors get opportunity to engage in a number of thrilling activities such as fetching water, food preparation mostly local dishes, sisal weaving, how to make jewelry using banana leaf fibers and many more. At end of it all, both a destination and local community become beneficiaries due to cultural tourism. Most of the cultural groups around the parks and outside are devoted in developing more cultural tourism products that benefit destinations, communities and tourists which ensures sustainability in travel sector while also protecting their cultural heritage.

In Uganda and Rwanda, there are several historical and cultural heritage sites that are worth exploring while on cultural safari. Therefore, in Rwanda they include the Rwanda genocide memorial centers including the famous Kigali memorial center, Nyamata genocide memorial site, Nyanza, Bisesero genocide memorial site, Ntarama, Murambi memorial center and others; Ndaba rock, Iby’iwacu cultural village, cultural museums in Nyamata and others while in Uganda, you will find historic and heritage sites like Kasubi tombs, Bahai temple, walumbe tanda pits, Nyero rock paintings, Namugongo martyrs shrine, Amabere ga Nyinamwiru, Uganda museum, Igongo cultural center, Bigo Bya Mugenyi a mention but a few.

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