H for Host Of the places we go to
This trip was to explore with a particular village whether they would like to host guests in the near future. The village had seen the negative impact of tourism in the nearby town and were not overly enthusiastic. I was trying to convince them that they could have sufficient control over the tourism in their village to ensure that it actually benefited them; and that with sufficient planning, they could handle any possible negative impact.
There was some debate over whether they would have homestays or a guesthouse that they would collectively manage. They understood that homestays would benefit a few families while a guesthouse would benefit more families in the village. We then went on to the discussion on what the roles and responsibilities of all the members of the Village Tourism Committee would be. The perception was that only those who were directly involved in running the guesthouse would be part of the tourism venture. The truth was that the entire village would be the host community.
As guests wander around the village and the surrounding hillocks, they will interact with almost everyone in the village. The experience is only as rich as how these interactions go forward – so in that sense, everyone in that village and probably in the neighbouring villages needs to understand the importance of the guests having a positive experience.