Turismo Comunitario

Large Arrow

So that everyone benefits

Tourism should benefit everyone – not only large travel companies, but above all the local population. Turismo Comunitario (english: Community-Based Tourism) follows exactly this approach and represents a form of tourism in which travellers go on holiday in smaller, indigenous villages and communities in order to get in touch with the local population and get to know their life, culture and traditions in an authentic way. TourCert supports this approach and is therefore involved in the Turismo Comunitario project in Ecuador since 2017.

Together for community-based tourism

The activities of the project are coordinated by the two non-profit organisations kate Ecology and Development and VSocial Foundation. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) provides financial support for this commitment. The focal point of the project are communities in Ecuador, which TourCert supports as an expert for sustainability in community-based tourism.

Community Based Tourism is defined as tourism owned and/or managed by communities and intended to deliver wider community benefit, benefiting a wider group than those employed in the initiative.

Harold Goodwin & Rosa Santilli

Our goal – poverty reduction through economic independence

Community-based tourism has a long tradition in Ecuador as part of the indigenous movement. Travellers get authentic insights into the everyday life of the local population and can learn more about indigenous cultures first hand, e.g. on guided hikes, while helping out in the fields and at agricultural work, at workshops to learn traditional crafts such as pottery and weaving or while cooking together. For the local communities, this integration into tourism is important both to pass on their culture and to generate additional income to traditional sources of income such as agriculture and livestock farming, and consequently to become more economically independent.

Step by step

Understanding the initial situation

Together with local consultants, the project managers first carried out an analysis of the status quo and the development of community-based tourism over the last 15 years. Based on the data collected, subsequent activities could then be planned, designed and implemented in line with the target group.

Develop measurable standards

With the support of the local project managers TourCert developes a general catalogue of criteria as a guideline for the management of community-based tourism. The communities of the association discussed and evaluated this on the basis of their practical experience.

Start pilot process

The list of criteria is introduced and reviewed in three pilot communities in Ecuador. The certification by TourCert then takes place. In addition, the project team supports the communities and their touristic development through topic-specific workshops on product development and marketing.

Learning from experience

After the three pilot destinations, the model will be transferred to other communities. The lessons learned from the pilot process will be taken into account here. The pilot communities are available to other interested communities for events and assistance.

Extension and Networking

The goal is long-term exchange between the communities and marketing measures to extend the model. TourCert supports the campaign with its own marketing actions and promotes the exchange with other members from the community.

Our success

A lot has happened since the start of the project in May 2017:

Catalogue of criteria

For the organisational model of community-based tourism, a new catalogue of criteria has been developed in partnership with local partners and the communities. The catalogue of criteria can be used beyond the end of the project and thus enables the certification of community-based tourism initiatives in the future.

Pilot communities

The improved organisational model with certification system is currently being implemented in three pilot communities. It will then be transferred to 10 other communities.


The TourCert system for community-based tourism has successfully passed the first practical test in the pilot communities in Ecuador. The project partners are therefore already planning to extend their commitment to other Latin American countries.


The network with partner organisations, associations and local political institutions is having an impact. There are already inquiries from other interested communities who would also like to join the process.

Become part of the initiative!

Community-based tourism is the new type of encounter travel – authentic, unadulterated and a real highlight for your product portfolio. Dialogue and cooperation with German tour operators are also sought to market the offers developed in the communities. Are you interested in a cooperation or further information? Feel free to contact us.

Günter Koschwitz

Head of Audit & Development


+49 711 24839711