Poverty Alleviation through Tourism (PAT)
PAT is convinced that the benefits of tourism should be widely spread in society and that the poor should benefit from tourism development.
Tourism has been identified an important vehicle in addressing the current development challenges facing the African continent. This is so because tourism has unique characteristics that make it different from other industries. Namely; labor-intensive tourist attractions are located in remote areas, the north-south dichotomy, high multiplier effects and the fact that the tourists travel to the destination as opposed to the product being shipped to the consumer.
The power of tourism can be more effectively harnessed to address the problems of poverty more directly since it’s one of the most dynamic economic activities of our time. As a central component of our work we have initiated research and consultation on the interrelation between tourism and poverty. In most developing countries tourism earns a lot of money but the irony is that only less than 5% reaches the local people whose resources are used to fuel the industry. PAT harnesses the power of tourism to alleviate poverty through the following seven carefully formulated strategies.
Enhancing employment of the poor in tourism enterprises
PAT seeks to reduce poverty levels by undertaking specific measures aimed at increasing the levels of employment of poor people within the tourism enterprises in the marginalized areas.
Stimulating supply of goods and services to tourism establishments by the poor
Tourism establishments outsource a number of supplies which range from food stuffs, curios, linen, uniforms, furniture and building materials - most of these can be outsourced from the communities living next to the establishments. To achieve this, PAT brokers business relationships between the establishments and the local communities and at the same time builds the capacity of the local communities to handle supplies until they are in a position of handling these orders.
Direct sale of goods and services to tourists by locals through the informal sector
The program seeks to create a good working relationship between the formal and informal
tourism sector with the sole aim of enabling the locals to make a living selling their products directly to visitors. These products include sale of food in stalls, sale of fruits, handicrafts, guiding services, pottery, taxi services, boat rides, and homestays.
Establishment of community based tourism enterprises
PAT assists the poor to initiate and manage small and sustainable community based enterprises so as to rake benefits from this multibillion industry. PAT encourages local individuals or groups to invest in providing services such as accommodation, catering, transport, retailing of souvenirs, tour guiding and entertainment among other services.
Utilization of tourism levies and taxes to support the poor
Developing nations collect a lot of taxes and levies. PAT advocates for policy change so that these levies and taxes can be used to provide amenities and other services to local communities whose resources are used to fuel the industry.
Increased social responsibility by tourism establishment
PAT encourages tourism service providers to constantly and persistently give back to the society that gives them the charter to operate through their corporate social responsibility programs.
Usage of investments developed for tourism purposes by locals
Tourism development especially in remote areas, requires development of new infrastructure including roads, water, energy, sanitation and communication facilities. PAT promotes the opening up of new tourism facilities in remote areas, which have tourism potentials.