16 September 2005

Community Based Tourism

Kyrgyzstan has a neat little homestay organization called Community Based Tourism. The idea is to provide affordable sightseeing, hiking, and accommodation options within Kyrgyzstan while also helping local people. It sounds like a great idea, and from everything I've been able to read, it works well.

They have all kinds of trips available on jeeps, horseback, or foot. You can stay with Kyrgyz families in their homes or yurts, or sometimes in empty apartments. Many provide full board for $8-10 per person (we still haven't figured out how much children cost- travel books don't provide much help for those traveling with children).

Certainly this is an inexpensive option, but the thing I like best is that its purpose is to benefit local people. You're not paying a large amount to a tourist agency. CBT will also arrange for you to visit local women who sell traditional handicrafts, or eagle hunters, or local musicians. It sounds like a great idea, and we plan to take advantage of it. Of course, when tourism slumps, as it did after the March revolution, you get stories like this.

Too bad Uzbekistan doesn't have something like this.

2 comments:

Lisa M. said...

Amira~

I think it sounds like a great idea, and one that I would prefer to utilize when traveling.

My most treasured experiences, both here and abroad, have been when we have been able to really absorb the lifestyle and essance of the place we are visiting.

Stopping by tourist attractions, are not quite..my cup of tea, per say.

Fantastic Idea. Selling cabbanis though, does indeed sound more profitable.

*sigh*

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