Countrystyle Community Tourism Network/Villages as Businesses, Jamaica

Countrystyle/CCTN developed the Community Tourism Village Programme to create economic opportunities for community persons interested in investing in their communities by offering community tourism products and attractions that build on unique natural, cultural and human capital. The village programme markets authentic lifestyles, people and experiences. It views the tourism product of the Caribbean as relating not only to specific ‘resort areas’ or traditional tourism establishments but to the entire country.

It also sees community tourism not as an end in itself to be relied on as a primary industry but as a catalyst to broader economic, social and cultural development, innovation and entrepreneurship.
In 2011 CCTN designed Villages As Businesses (VAB) as a practical framework for formalizing and scaling up its work of preparing villages for community tourism and encouraging the development of communities as sustainable business enterprises. The objective was and remains to empower communities to offer a range of products and services, generating income, expanding businesses and providing new employment and career paths. But, as listed earlier, the process of preparing for and engaging in community tourism creates community wealth in more than financial terms, encouraging the acquisition of skills and education, requiring protection of community assets, fostering community pride, and stimulating self determination and participation in governance.

Villages As Businesses operates as a not-for-profit membership component of CCTN. Communities join when they understand the potential of community tourism and commit to developing their own brand. VAB is funded by member dues, grants, contributions and, in future, the interest generated by a nascent Community Tourism Trust Fund (COMTRUST). Its services include sensitization, training, tour preparation, business planning and entrepreneurial guidance and networked marketing. CCTN/VAB’s aim is to provide as much autonomy as possible but to undertake those functions that are hard or infeasible for a community to undertake alone such as international homestay marketing, obtaining liability insurance and establishing links and partnerships with tour operators.
Diana McIntyre-Pike OD, BSc is an hotelier, entrepreneur, tourism consultant and trainer, internationally recognized as the pioneer of Community Tourism. Educated in England, Germany and Jamaica in Hotel, Tourism and Environmental Management, she has 44 years’ experience and has held numerous posts in the tourism industry. She was a Director of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and Chairman of their Small Hotels Committee for eight years and created the Small Hotels Retreat, an event which was very successful for many years. She also owned and operated a small hotel in Jamaica for over 35 years where she pioneered the Countrystyle Community Tourism organization.

he is President/Founder of the Countrystyle Community Tourism Network and has built the Villages as Businesses programme to empower member villages, through tour design, training, management and marketing support, to profit from community tourism. The resulting Community Experience tours are marketed to international tour companies through Countrystyle Caribbean Vacations and Tours (COCAVAT), founded in partnership with Caribic/Olympia Tours. She created the Academy for Community Tourism (ACT), with Etalon Global Solutions (EGS), a Pearson EDEXCEL Training and Certification Centre, to expand Countrystyle’s community tourism courses and offer internationally-recognized certification.
Her services to Community Tourism have garnered widespread recognition, including Virgin Holidays` Award for Best Overall Personal Contribution to Responsible Tourism (2008), Jamaica’s Order of Distinction (OD) (2009), the National Association of Jamaicans and Supportive Organizations (NAJASO) President’s Distinguished Service Award (2011) and IIPT’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2013). Through the Women’s Bureau of Jamaica, she was one of 50 women receiving the 2012 International Women’s Day Award. Islands Magazine selected Countrystyle for one of its 2008 Responsible Tourism Awards and featured the Community Experience packages among the world’s top 20 Responsible Tourism offerings.
Mrs. McIntyre-Pike is gaining increasing international respect for Jamaica’s pioneering community tourism. She is Caribbean President of the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) Caribbean and co-ordinates IIPT’s International Community Tourism Network in over 70 countries. She has worked across the Caribbean to build community tourism and, as an invited community tourism expert, has presented at UNESCO, OAS, OECS and IIPT international meetings in Switzerland, South Africa, Barbados and ten other Caribbean states

FOR ICTP MEMBERS :We are willing to offer complimentary membership to all ICTP members of the Countrystyle Community Tourism Network/Villages as Busineesses and the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) Caribbean chapter and will offer discounted rates for training members /communities in community tourism entrepreneurship.

Diane Mcintyre-Pike