Community Based Tourism as an incubator for spatial development
After years of (economic) prosperity, the tide is turning in Moengo. After Suralco has decreased its activities, Moengo is plagued by impoverishment and economic decline. From Plan4Cure and the University of Antwerp, research has been carried out and various development potentials have been distinguished. One of those potentials is Community Based Tourism (CBT). This research is an exploratory study into the potential for tourism in Moengo.
The goal of this research is on the one hand to interpret touristic economic aspects in Moengo. On the other hand, it looks at how tourism can contribute to spatial development in Moengo. From the scientific literature an action plan has been formulated to set up CBT. This consists of three pillars: social capital, conservation and awareness, local economic development.
By means of an action-research in Moengo, an analysis has been made based on the three pillars. To achieve 'social capital', an organizational structure has been set up. This is an online platform called Moen•Go! This platform serves as a link between traveler and local actor. 'Conservation and awareness' is realized through knowledge in the placement process. Four sub-potencies were distinguished im the action research: Interactive Routes and Art, Culture and History, Former Bauxite Mine Area and Resort Blommie. These business cases are further developed and are part of this research. All these business cases contain local systems in tourism in Moengo. The business cases are also the basis for pillar three 'local (economic) development'. To reach spatial development, as the research is framed in Plan4Cure, an economic basis is needed. This can be translated into the chicken-and-egg dilemma. Spatial development provided to attract tourists is not possible. The business cases offer plans where local actors can use activities to generate income, these activities are the basic broader CBT and spatial development.
From the platform Moen•Go! test cases were organized, interviews were held and an ‘high-actor meeting’ was set up to refine requirements for CBT in Moengo. From these activities it was concluded that Community Based Tourism can be realized in Moengo, given the fact Moengo and the surrounding area have sufficient potential. The platform must not be open-source, but must initially offer more defined travels. The third conclusion is about different actors in Moengo. They should work together to establish CBT. Only small businesses will find it hard to come to the fair. The conclusions are all part of the theme 'safety', which is also important. There must be certainty of physical safety, certain level of comfort, reliability on involved actors and finances.