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Essential Resources for Growing Your Ecotourism Business
April 21, 2015

Caravan of safari vehicles
The travel and tourism industry continues to grow, offering new business opportunities. (rcrhee/Wikimedia Commons)


Despite occasional dips in annual growth, travel and tourism has flourished over the last decade, and the industry is expected to take back its role in driving global growth, creating jobs and alleviating poverty. In fact, the World Travel and Tourism Council estimates that 3.8 million jobs could be created by the tourism industry in sub-Saharan Africa by 2023. If you are ready to enhance your travel and tourism project — or to jump into this exciting industry — check out these resources.

Developing your plan. Building a new business is hard work. The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that 50 percent of new businesses disappear by the fifth year of operation. New businesses fail for a variety of reasons, from lack of capital to poor management. Yet there is one step that helps to address many of these issues, which is to develop a comprehensive business plan. Get started with USAID’s toolkit Sustainable Tourism Enterprise Development: A Business Planning Approach [PDF – 3 MB].

Telling your story. People travel for a variety of reasons: to escape, explore, understand and participate. But at the core of the experience lies the destination — the place that hands something to the traveler to keep forever and share with others. Whether your destination is rural or urban, rustic or hip, you need strategies to best tell your destination’s unique story. Begin with USAID’s workbook Tourism Destination Management: Achieving Sustainable and Competitive Results [PDF – 4 MB].

Welcome signs on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro (Chris 73/Wikimedia Commons)
Figuring out what makes your destination unique can help attract tourists — and grow your business. (Chris 73/Wikimedia Commons)

Managing your people. Because people are essential to the travel and tourism industry, managing them well is essential to success. To help managers in the travel and tourism industry assess, design, implement and evaluate their workforce development plans, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has created this Guide to Assessing and Designing Tourism Workforce Development Programs [PDF – 9 MB].

Powering your business. Rural tourism is a rapidly growing sector of the global tourism industry. Since rural tourism operations are often in remote locations, ensuring a reliable supply of energy can be a special challenge. To help your tourism venture plan for reliable energy, read USAID’s guide to Electrification and Efficiency Options for Rural Tourism Facilities [PDF – 1 MB].

If you are hungry for more tourism-related resources, consider enrolling in USAID’s free Sustainable Tourism Online Learning Program.