As you may be aware, the Ruboni tourism village was selected by UNWTO as one of the top 20 villages with the potential to become an outstanding top-tier rural tourism destination. UNWTO chose Ruboni to undergo an upgrade program to help the village achieve its full sustainability potential. We are currently working so hard to use this opportunity to make Ruboni a “Best tourism village” to the UNWTO standard.
Upon seeing the news, Many friends and supporters of Ruboni have been wondering or even asking us how they can support us to make it to the top. Now I have the answer, we need to join hands and work together as lovers, beneficiaries, and supporters of Ruboni Village. This is how each one of our friends and supporters can contribute to the success of Ruboni tourism village by enabling us to get to the top of the UNWTO criteria.
Ruboni tourism village is excited to explore the opportunities provided by the UNWTO under the best tourism villages program. One of the ways the village is looking to focus on is by building local and international partnerships. This will enable the village to carry out product development, implement sustainable tourism, and increase visitor numbers and visitor satisfaction. When the visitor number to Ruboni village can increase, the village will be able to benefit from the resulting incomes; some of which will be reinvested in tourism, conservation, and local development initiatives.
In 2021, Ruboni village was selected and recognized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as one of the top 20 villages with the potential to become an outstanding top-tier rural tourism destination. UNWTO chose Ruboni to undergo an upgrade program to help the village achieve its full sustainability potential.
As a result, Ruboni Village is currently participating in the UNWTO best tourism villages upgrade program, to be able to cover the gaps identified during the selection. After the successful completion of the upgrade, Ruboni village will be required to apply again with the hope that the village can get recognition as the best tourism village.
Ruboni tourism village recently attended the UNWTO general meeting. During this meeting, we also kick-started the mentorship program. This mentorship program conducted by Professor Joseph Mbaiwa and supported by UNWTO best tourism villages will see Ruboni set strategic goals and activities to cover the existing sustainability gaps as a way to meet the UNWTO sustainability standards of the best tourism villages initiative.
Current and proposed activities to develop the tourism village
· Creation of a village tourism committee
· Mapping the tourist attractions of the area
· Creation of a community visitor center
· Stakeholder engagement
· Creation of private-public partnerships for equitable development
· Product development drives
· Increased tourism marketing
· Licensing the hotels and guides in the village
· Increasing accessibility to technology/computer/ internet
· Tourism training and capacity building for the staff and service providers
Ruboni is a remote mountain village where the majority of the people never travel outside their village. Lack of exposure affects this village’s awareness levels, mindset, and attitude about tourism, conservation, and community development. It also leads to an inability to meet guest expectations in relation to sustainability and customer satisfaction in many service areas ranging from product development, reservations management, guest services, and all other aspects.
We intend to explore exposure and training programs for a cross-section of community members including the service providers, local government leaders, and key village residents of Ruboni tourism village. This will best be done through local study trips, international partnerships, exchange programs, and technology enhancement through computer and internet access by the local residents.
On our goal of creating international partnerships, we have one opportunity we want to explore. We intend to attend an international event organized by the Municipality of San Ginesio, Italy – 14-16 July 2023 that will take place in Italy. This event will be attended by all the Best Tourism Villages network members across the world. These include the best tourism villages, tourism ministries of the countries where they come from and all villages under the upgrade program.
We intend to send two people from Ruboni to attend the event; The Ruboni tourism village coordinator as the focal person and the village mayor. The event will involve local tours, networking sessions, and a B2B session aimed at creating synergies for global partnerships and exchange programs between the different Best Tourism Villages worldwide.
On this trip to attend the networking event in San Ginesio, Italy – 14-16 July 2023, We have so far acquired the invitation for the two participants from the municipality of San Ginesio. Local transportation, hotels, and event attendance are also already covered.
How you can help
We are lacking two return flight tickets for two village representatives to attend. It is in this particular area we need support from well-wishers and supporters to enable Ruboni Village to send the intended two representatives. The tickets and associated costs will be 2500$.
During the event, the Ruboni village representatives will participate in the tours, networking sessions, and a B2B event aimed at developing international partnerships and exchange programs between the different governments and tourism villages. We are particularly interested in creating a staff exchange program targeting the youth so that we can create learning and practicing opportunities in a cross-section of tourism, conservation, and development careers.