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Mapping Ruboni Village Tourist Attractions on OpenStreetMap to Enhance Regional Tourism

HOT Project



Mapping Ruboni Village Tourist Attractions on OpenStreetMap to Enhance Regional Tourism

In 2021, Ruboni village was selected by UNWTO as one of the top 20 villages with the potential to become an outstanding top-tier rural tourism destination.

Promoting tourism in rural areas can be a source of livelihood for rural communities, especially the youth, and women. Tourism ventures can empower households financially and act as a source of employment for those who are not employed.  Local tourism can also enhance efforts of resource conservation for community development and sustainability.

The Ruboni Community Conservation and Development Program (RCCDP) aims to empower the rural community, especially the youth, and encourage them to get involved in tourism as a source of income, a conduit for community development and natural resource conservation. The program will not only benefit communities but other stakeholders in the tourism sector including the government. The above achievements have not been without challenges some of which include bureaucracy in some sectors, diminished community cooperation, and stringent restrictions on data collection. The community’s understanding of tourism and the use of equipment such as flying drones was limited. They lacked knowledge of the official names of places and streets especially within town councils given the poor quality of existing data on Ruboni. Although these hurdles slowed down the pace of the project it is now on course.

The RCCDP has built the digital capacities and skills of 30 women and youth and equipped them with tools to enhance their tourism businesses resulting in the social economic inclusion of women and youth in the development of tourism in Ruboni village. It has ignited nine tourism development partnerships in addition to the internal partnerships with the tourism players that already existed, thus building new networks and partnerships. The RCCDP team and tourism stakeholders now clearly understand policy procedures and how they relate to tourism businesses and other livelihoods. The project has brought innovation among the youth and tourism stakeholders as well as awareness of conservation development such as tree planting and landscape management. The youth’s understanding of tourism as a source of income and their knowledge base on project management has also been enhanced.

The project aims to be implemented in five phases. So far, RCCDP has been able to acquire the necessary tools for mapping including the software and hardware tools used to collect and manage mapped data, and has engaged with communities and stakeholders, and collected data on the tourist trails to be mapped, including training the project team and stakeholders. It has also established other potential tourist attractions in the area to be developed in readiness for broader stakeholder network discussions.

The RCCDP has so far conducted 19 training sessions that have benefitted 35 women, 87 youth, and 107 men. Beneficiaries can now collect and update information on OpenStreetMap using cameras, GPS machines, and mobile phones. Through the training, they were able to collect data on over 25 tourist enterprises and attractions in Ruboni village and Rwenzori gateway.

The data collected will be used to develop marketing content to be used by all stakeholders in the tourism sector including the government.

The project has encouraged greater community participation through the establishment of collective mapping days, weekly tourism meetings in the village, quarterly meetings with the village tourism committees, and meetings with major stakeholders. The youth have a daily digital access window where they access a computer with an internet connection. The program also provides data and an internet connection to the youth.