Primarily, community-based tourism and cultural identity are intertwined:
Cultural preservation: Community-based tourism often values and preserves local culture as an integral part of the tourism experience. Through the promotion of cultural practices and traditions, communities can maintain their identity and avoid cultural homogenisation.
Authentic experiences: The aim is to provide visitors with authentic and genuine experiences, allowing them to immerse themselves in the daily life and customs of the community. This reinforces local cultural identity and gives tourists a deeper understanding of the culture and ways of life of the host community.
Tangible and intangible cultural heritage: Community-based tourism highlights and promotes both tangible cultural heritage (monuments, handicrafts, architecture) and intangible cultural heritage (rituals, music, gastronomy). This helps to preserve and transmit the cultural identity of the community over time.
Local participation: Community participation in the planning and operation of community-based tourism ensures that the tourism experience is developed in a manner consistent with the community's cultural values and traditions. This also prevents cultural appropriation and promotes a respectful exchange between visitors and locals.
Cultural and economic empowerment: Community-based tourism provides opportunities for local communities to share and celebrate their cultural identity, which in turn can lead to a greater sense of cultural pride and empowerment. In addition, community-based tourism is a source of economic income for communities, which contributes to strengthening and sustaining their cultural practices.
Intercultural education: Community-based tourism encourages interaction between tourists and local communities, creating opportunities for enriching cultural exchange. Visitors can learn about the cultural identity of the community and, in turn, share their own cultures, which promotes greater understanding and tolerance.
Finally, we must be aware that community-based tourism should offer experiences but also facilitate the acquisition (purchase) of products by tourists, and that in some cases, without trivialising the products, community-based tourism can also be a way to promote cultural exchange.
Without trivialising products, shopping tourism and community-based tourism are closely related, as the purchase of products can be an important source of wealth.
In this sense, shopping tourism can have a positive economic impact on local communities, as tourists spend money on goods and services, although it must be premised on the premise that shopping should be done in a responsible and sustainable manner, avoiding the exploitation of local producers and artisans and encouraging an equitable distribution of economic benefits among the community.
In certain contexts, community-based tourism and shopping tourism should complement each other, as tourists can appreciate and learn about local culture and, at the same time, have the opportunity to purchase local products and handicrafts, thus contributing to the economic development of the community.
Similarly, responsible shopping tourism helps to preserve local crafts and cultural traditions, encouraging local artisans and producers to continue to maintain their traditional practices.
Shopping tourism and community-based tourism should coexist, develop and mutually benefit from each other if implemented responsibly and in harmony with the values and objectives of community-based tourism. And this is a task for political and technical managers and, above all, community leaders.