Zaamin villagers learning to offer community-based-tourism services
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) --
UNDP “Local Governance Support Project: Participation and Partnership” (LGSP) initiated a training programme for local people of Zaamin district of Jizzakh region (Zaamin), who expressed interest and willingness to engage into a new business initiative – Community-Based Tourism (CBT).
The training programme aims to build capacities of participants in organization and successful management of guest houses, offering leisure activities to tourists, including demonstrating cultural heritage performances and guiding through untouched natural sightseeing of Zaamin.
CBT, also known as rural tourism, is found to be distinctive type of tourism as at one hand it offers tourists unique opportunities to experience national traditions of local communities at the grass roots level, while on the other hand it raises living standards and income generation for the rural families in the remote areas, as well as preserves their national and cultural heritage.
Review of the best international experiences in CBT shows that CBT development gives rise to additional income generation for local people through providing guest houses for overnight accommodation, catering and tour-guiding services, organizing leisure programmes for tourists and selling handmade souvenirs and handcrafts.
Nevertheless, organizing touristic business requires professional knowledge and skills in provision of touristic services and products at the required level; this is especially true for those who are new into this type of business. In this regard, LGSP in partnership with khokimiyats of Jizzakh region and Zaamin district, Federation of Labor Unions of Uzbekistan, and upon trainers support from the Republican Educational and Training Center of the National Company “Uzbektourism” has organized a week-long training programme for 21 inhabitants of local villages in Zaamin district, who expressed willingness to learn basic skills and knowledge needed for organization and management of guest houses.
In particular, the training programme covered such specific themes as the insight into CBT, established international requirements applicable to sanitary and hugienic conditions in the guest houses, tourist reception and accommodation, guest house management and maintenance, etiquette of hosting and serving tourists, catering services, organizing leisure programmes (e.g. demonstration of national cultural traditions, tours to sights and places of natural and historical heritage, and etc.), phycological aspects of serving tourists, basics of marketing and pricing of touristic services.
The practical sessions and examination at the end of the training programme shall help the participants to absorb more effectively the information provided by highly qualified trainers of Educational and Training Center of the National Company “Uzbektourism”.
It should be noted that LGSP in cooperation with the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan and with support from Djizzak regional and Zaamin district khokimiyats is implementing complex initiatives targeted towards increasing the touristic and investment potential of Zaamin.
In particular, along with building capacities of local communities in Zaamin, LGSP has also initiated installation of road signs and information boards along the touristic routes, and near such touristic sites as natural sightseeings, historic and archeological monuments, as well as guest houses. Also, information and handout materials, souvenirs and other promotional materials are produced to promote touristic zone Zaamin.
These initiatives are being realized within the framework of the Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan #14/1-299 “The program of targeted actions towards tourism development and increase in the export potential of tourism services in Jizzakh region for the period 2011-2012” dated October 4th, 2011. Moreover, recommendations and feedback from touristic companies and operators, received during several events organized by LGSP are also taken into consideration in development and implementation of further action plans.
Some of the further steps of LGSP within the initiative of promoting touristic zone Zaamin include organization of info-tours and other events for representatives of mass-media and touristic companies, and attracting investors for upgrade and further development of the touristic infrastructure of Zaamin.