Friday, June 29, 2012

Preserving your Culture - Bridging the Communication Gap

CES worked with Teck Resources Ltd. to develop a mobile app that provides access to two-way transparent communication and support between communities and resources extraction companies. This mobile app opens up new doors for creating an open, honest dialogue that closes the communication gap.

One of the features is the cultural preservation pillar, referred to as Storyscapes. Storyscapes provides an opportunity for communities to share their culture, language and traditions through stories and teachings. It educates the resource extraction companies by providing them with an understanding of the community's traditional culture, their modern way of living, and what's important to them.
Learn how to bridge the gap to create a more respectful relationship between communities and companies by preserving local culture. Contact CES for more information at 1-877-444-5550 or email us at

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Driving Tourism Forward

If tourism development is part of your community’s agenda one of the best investments you can make is hiring a qualified Community Tourism Officer.

Spearheading tourism initiatives often becomes a shared responsibility in communities. It becomes part of the duties of your Economic Development Officer, part of the duties of your Community Services Department, and of your Recreation Department, and your Planning Services Department, and perhaps others.

A collaborative approach will always yield greater results than an independent one, but ultimately there needs to be one person to coordinate the tourism development initiatives, liaise with the Departments and their staff, and assume accountability for bringing ideas to reality.

Hiring a dedicated Community Tourism Officer allows this to happen, and can facilitate tangible progress for your local tourism industry. Don’t view this position as an extra cost to your community – view it as a worthwhile investment in your community’s future!

For more information about the role of a Community Tourism Officer and to learn about Community Tourism Officer training and coaching offered through CES, please call Jason at 1-877-444-5550 or email me at

Friday, June 15, 2012

Simplifying Sustainable Cultural Tourism

What makes a sustainable tourism business successful? Is it having one of the top luxury eco-tourism facilities in the world – or is it having a small guiding business that offers cultural walking tours? The answer is both, if it respects the local culture, traditions and environment of a destination while contributing to the local economy.

There are a lot of sustainable tourism models that place pressure on businesses to meet a list of guidelines to be considered ‘sustainable’. Whereas we believe that having a small business that provides unique cultural experiences for visitors hosted by local guides can be just as successful as a 5 star eco-resort.  The creation of small cultural tourism businesses has the ability to empower local community members to create economic development that is in harmony with cultural traditions.

Tourists want to experience diverse cultures; to eat, live in, and explore a new place for a short time and not necessarily participate in any specific ‘tourist’ activity. The importance of the need to support the community first before commercializing the culture remains a priority.

I was thinking of some of my favourite cultural tourism experiences:
  • learning traditional survival skills in the Cameroon Highlands with a local guide;
  • sleeping in a teepee by a peaceful creek for the Sound of the Drum Tour with Algonquin Canoe Company;
  • playing with the kids in Sapa, Northern Vietnam with our homestay family;
  • sipping chai tea on the rooftop of our guide’s house in Agra;
  • organizing a community soccer match in the small town of Buenos Aires, Honduras; and
  • the 6:00 AM boat ride to experience life on the Ganges in Varanasi.

When you break each of these down, they are very simple cultural experiences which can be easily planned and managed.

A great example of a company that created a sustainable cultural tourism business is Uptuyu Adventure located in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Uptuyu Adventure’s success is built upon having local Aboriginal guides that know the country intimately. Local guides escort visitors to exclusive locations to enjoy the real Aboriginal culture.  Visitors have an opportunity to learn about the bush medicines and explore the fascinating geography and history of the area. Uptuyu Adventure also creates customized experiences based on the interests of their guests.

Uptuyu Adventure, Kimberly region in Western Australia

So, if it’s not feasible to develop a 5 star eco-resort in your community, there are many other options to create unique cultural tourism businesses. CES can assist with creating cultural tourism products and services that are designed to support and empower community members, preserve the local culture and traditions, and create economic benefits. If you or your community is interested in developing a cultural tourism business, creating a tourism plan and/or marketing plan contact us for a free consultation at 1-877-444-5559 or email Amanda at