The forerunner to this emerging tourism product is the People-To-People Programme that started in 1974. Bahamian families volunteered to support the burgeoning tourism industry and to welcome our guests in the Bahamian way!
Community based tourism (CBT) is actually the oldest and most sustainable way of conducting tourism, with visitors being invited into local and non-touristic areas of a community and interacting with people in these areas, experiencing their culture, food and participating in their way of life. CBT contributes to the well-being of communities by supporting sustainable livelihoods and protecting valued socio-cultural traditions. CBT supports natural and cultural heritage resources.
Destination branding and marketing play a critical role in facilitating a sustainable rural and CBT in The Bahamas. The 21st century traveler expects more from a destination. The experiential part of their visit is critical. They want to be or be seen to be responsible when they visit a destination (both in rural and/or urban settings). CBT is the way forward for The Bahamas to remain authentic and provide the experience that tourists are looking for.