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COMMUNITY-

BASED
ECOTOURISM IN
NORTH AMERICA By: BSTM 3-1N
SANTOS, JENNY LEE CALMA
UMINGA, GABRIELLE CALUYA

What is Community Based Ecotourism?


Is a form of Ecotourism that focuses the progression of Local communities and
allows for local residents to have substantial control over, and involvement in, its
development and management, and a major proportion of the benefits remain
within the community.
It is also (CBET) has become a popular tool for biodiversity conservation, based
on the principle that biodiversity must pay for itself by generating economic
benefits, particularly for local people.

These are the TOP 3 Community Based Ecotourism in North


America
Canada
Costa Rica
Mexico
CANADA
Jamies Whaling Station Ltd
Environmental Sustainability of the Ecotourism Project/ Business
1. Contribution to the conservation of Natural Areas
Supports watching whales in the wild, not in captivity. Collected a $2.00
per visitor research fee that is split between the local Bird Hospital.
Gray Whale and Humpback research (West Coast Whale) and Orca and
Pinniped research (Strawberry Isle)

2. Educational and Interpretation Features


Our tours are narrated with local knowledge of the Natural, Cultural and
Marine life of Clayoqout and Barkley Sounds. Support and Supply
pamphlets for WSPA (Western States Petroleum Association) and SPCA (
Society and Prevention for Cruelty Animals), Humane Society
International, and SCAT a local program that captures, neuters/spays and
releases feral cats on the Tofino waterfront.

3. Environmental Practices in the Development and Operation of Ecotourism


Facilities, Establishments and Services.
Constantly upgrading the equipment to the latest low emission type
outboard, as well as keeping the diesel engines in top working order to
lower polluting emissions.
On the two (2) of the whale watch vessels, that have installed noise
reducing Arnersons Drivers to reduce water-born noise to the whales
and other sea life.

Social Sustainability of the Ecotourism Project or Business


1. Community Involvement and Benefits
Through workshops with Parks Canada and the Federal Fisheries, we
have developed sensible wildlife viewing standards.
The company employs 35 persons, all but one living on the west coast
over $500.00 is mostly spent in the region.
The training programs enable young deckhands to work up to mates and
skippers. The large vessels for evening local benefit tours as well as
taking out the elementary school children.
Finance and Funding
Self funded to start, later to purchase and rebuild more vessels ($150.000)
then the major loans through banks to acquire larger vessels.
Through Business plan was developed, which entailed thousands of hours
of research into the Whale Watching Business in North America and
tourism statistics for Vancouver Island and the Tofino region.

Ecotourism Sustainability of the Ecotourism Project or Business


1. Marketing and Promotion
Marketing started with handmade brochures and posters, some local print
advertisement. Now marketing through travel and trade shows,
networking, coop advertising, packaging with local resorts, familiarity
media tours, print and world wide world.
Most of the communications involve the tours offer, the vessels that
operate, times and departures, with a small amount of local information,
recommended accommodation.

2. Profitability of the Ecotourism Business


The process over 50% of the adventure tourism market on the west coast.
Return on the investment is satisfactory without being too sensitive to
market fluctuations.
In Recent years as the clientele to the West Coast has changed from
families and returning visitors to more upscale one-time clients.

Cooperation in Ecotourism Operations


Belong to many Tourism Associations throughout British Columbia and N.
W. U.S.A including the Wilderness Tourism Association. The founding
members of a local wildlife tourism associations. We partake in joint
advertising and bulk ad buys whenever possible.
They work within a local National Park and also several Provincial Parks
and protected areas on some of tours, and collect a stipend for Strawberry
Isle Research and West Coast Whale Research Foundation as well as the
local bird hospital.
Regulation of Ecotourism Activities
The existing guidelines allow our operators to responsibly watch the
wildlife and allows them an easy answer a guest wants a Closer look
They have a very definite code of conduct and ethics that we have
developed over the years. As they explain to the crews. The livelihood
depends on wildlife being there to watch and if we do not respect their
space, they cannot expect them to stay.
In addition, since starting this industry, they have been very vocal with
other disrespectful operators and cajole them into behaving property.

Problems and their Solutions


In the early years of whale watching, they had problems with operator
getting too close to the whales. They took it upon ourselves to protect the
wildlife and would chastise the operators for their bad behavior.
As an Industry founder, we were invited to meet the Federal Fisheries
department to develop proper viewing guidelines.
Later we worked with the National Park Service to develop similar
guidelines when viewing wildlife in the Park. The Guest expectation has
turned from how close are we going to get to how far away are you
going to stay.

COSTA RICA
Punta Islita Hotel
Nature of the Ecotourism Project
The Punta Islita Hotel started up in business in 1990. It changed the focus
of its business to ecotourism in 1995, and in 1998 added soft adventure
tourism services and ecotourism activities. In 2001 the custom-tailored
services were stepped up and marketing actions boosted.
Execution period: 10 years.
Role of the groups of interest involved: work in total liaison with the local
community in Punta Islita was undertaken and in collaboration with the
local communities of the towns of Corozalito, Pilas and Pueblo Nuevo.
The Punta Islita hotel provides the following services, among others:
Accommodation: 34 rooms of various standards
Spa service, beach club with swimming pool, quads, tennis courts,
gymnasium.
Canopy walks (using platforms, the ecotourists can glide along the
treetops without touching the ground).
Mountain bikes, fishing, horse riding, climbing, and others

Finance and Funding


Funding was provided by private capital. 100% Costa Rica
Investment in infrastructure: Access roads were built. 4 bridges. 6 fords. 1
handrail crossing over the Corozalito River and several trails, a landing
strip, telecommunications towers. Hotel facilities, rooms and services,
tennis courts, gymnasiums and golf practice course, beach club,
swimming pools, others.
Investments for the benefit of the community: a hostal was built rooms for
employees. Community services such as a church, school, local store,
and meeting and activity hall.

Environmental Sustainability of the Ecotourism Project/ Business


1. Contribution to the Conservation of Natural Areas
Three (3) years ago a study of the biodiversity of the area was
undertaken, hiring a Costa Rican biologist to do so who drew up a
management and development plan.
It is the only beach in the region that has it. Punta Islita has the Tourism
Sustainability Certificate (TSC) awarded by the ICT (Instituto
Costarricense de Turismo) the Costa Rica Tourism Institute.

2. Education and Interpretation Features


The aim is to boost the quality of the hotel by incorporating cultural and
environmental features to give visitors a unique, all-round experience.
The local residents are offered training courses to enable them to identify
the different opportunities provided by the area and to undertaken their
own tourist projects.
The entire municipal area of Nandayure benefits from these moves.

3. Environmental Practices in the Development and Operation of Ecotourism


Facilities, Establishments and Services
Environmental management of waste, water and energy, the application of
traditional materials and design for lodgings establishments and other
services.
The enterprise made the arrangements for all the facilities needed for the
waste management systems; recycling policies were applied in the hotel;
work is being undertaken with processes for reducing waste, and the local
population at Punta Islita is supplied with drinking water.
The Punta Islita Hotel is positioned as a Honeymoon destination and as a
place to rest; it is characterised by its peace and quiet, privacy, by its top-
class custom-tailored service and the chance to have an experience that
combines the areas natural and cultural aspects.

Cooperation in Ecotourism business Operation


The Punta Islita Hotel has not come across other hotels or organisations
with which in ecotourism to establish mutually-beneficial alliances.
The only organisations in the area with business operation which it works
in this respect are the Municipality of Nandayure and the Ministry for the
Environment and Energy.

Regulation of Ecotourism Activities


Legal factors themselves do not hinder the development of business
activities of the Punta Islita Hotel, but occasionally the functioning of the
entities is slow and bureaucratic which does pose a problem.
The Sustainable Tourism Certificate system awarded by the ICT was
adopted and work is underway with the community on the cleaning tasks
for keeping the Blue Flag certificate awarded to the beaches.
Problems and their Solution
The main problems had to do with the local communities, which lacked
basic and their solution vices. Sometimes the hotel acted as a government
body, supplying drinking water by tapping the hotels system.
In the area the local communities face transport problems owing to the
fact that the local residents do not own vehicles and because of the poor
state of repair of the roads. That is why the Punta Islita Hotel occasionally
provides emergency transport to neighbouring hospitals in the event of
accidents, illness and maternity-related situations. To alleviate this
situation, the bridge over the River Seco in Bejuco and the ford on the
Rivers Zapote and Islita were built and are maintained. Likewise, a landing
strip was built and permanent maintenance work is carried out on the road
in the sections comprised between the landing strip in Corozalillo and the
River Ora.
In collaboration with a frequent guest, the school was built and the
community services hall, where the teacher lives and which is also used to
provide for medical care for the residents.

MEXICO
Las Caadas - Bosque de Niebla (mist forest): company/project
Ecotourism in a private ecological reserve
Las Caadas
- is a private ecological reserve covering 306 Ha, home to one of the last vestiges
of mist forest in Veracruz.
- It has been designed with the idea of sharing a different way of living, producing,
and travelling.
- We receive very small groups of ecotourists, thus ensuring that guests will enjoy
a high-quality experience and at the same time keeping the impact on the
ecosystem that is our livelihood at a low level.

Accommodation (6 bungalows)
Guided tours of the agro-ecological area
Guided tours of the mist forest
Temazcal (Pre-Hispanic steam baths)
Mountain biking
Pottery workshop with a local craftswoman
Yogurt and cheese-making workshop
Milking tour
Library and video library
Hiking
Birding guide books (produced by Pronatura Veracruz A.C.)
Time frame: 1995-2002
Principal activities: The ecotourism product offered by Las Caadas encompasses the
following features:
Agro-ecology
Ecotourism
Education and environmental interpretation
Mist forest conservation
Processing and sale of organic products
Alternative energies and ecotechnologies.

Goals:
To recover and conserve 270 Ha of mist forest
To help alleviate poverty among the regions inhabitants
To help reduce erosion and soil impoverishment in the region
To implement a sustainable lifestyle and sustainable production, that is, to
enable generations to come to be able to live and work the same or better
To help change the lifestyle of present-day Western consumer society into
one that is non-predatory on our planets resources
To involve the local inhabitants (peasant farmers, schools, neighbouring
landowners, etc.) in the conservation of our basic resources (forest, water,
soil, and culture).
Finance and funding
The main investment expenditure involved building the requisite
infrastructure (accommodation, hiking trails, library, audio visual
laboratory, store, workshops, etc.)
The only source of financing was that provided directly by the owner. No
feasibility or economic viability studies were performed.

Environmental Sustainability of the Ecotourism Project or Business


1. Contribution to the conservation of natural areas
Thanks to ecotourism, 270 Ha of mist forest ecosystem are being
conserved in Las Caadas, and to that end, in cooperation with Pronatura
A.C. (a conservation organization) the first Servidumbre ecolgica
[conservation easement], a legal mechanism for land conservation in
Mexico, was established.
Research and reforestation activities in the area are carried out and
fostered.

2. Educational and Interpretation Features


Numerous educational activities are carried out. Las Caadas is an
independent regional centre for training, demonstration, and research
relating to the "bio intensive cultivation methods" and other agro-
ecological practices.
Agriculture as practised in the Las Caadas garden plot goes beyond
mere cultivation without employing agro-toxins. The use of alternative
methods has allowed us to work more in cooperation than in competition
with nature, thereby enabling us to achieve generous yields of healthy
foodstuffs.
Since 1999 we have taught an agro-ecology training course and workshop
to both local peasant farmers and nonlocals. For the former the course is
provided free of charge.
3. Environmental Practices in the Development and Operation of Ecotourism
Facilities, Establishments and Services
Solar energy: In 1999 an engineer, Arturo Romero Paredes, installed a
photovoltaic system consisting of 12 solar arrays rated at 53 watts each,
generating some 2,400 watts/hour/day.

This system has proved to be sufficient to cover the reserves basic operating
requirements, both for the people living there and for the training courses for
peasant farmers and ecotourism activities.

Hydraulic biogas generators: Two hydraulic biogas generators are in operation,


one pumping 20,000 litres a day to a height of 88 m to cover the water needs of
the livestock section, the other pumping the same amount of 20,000 litres a day
to a height of 60 m to cover the needs of the agro-ecology section, dwellings, and
dairy processing.
Artificial ponds for grey water treatment
Ecological dry toilets: All bathrooms for ecotourism use are equipped with
ecological dry toilets which do not use water and in time produce composted
organic matter that enable us to return to the soil a portion of the minerals that
we take from it.
It should be noted that these bathrooms have been in operation for 4 years and
that their performance has exceeded our expectations and those of the eco
tourists who have used them.
Rainwater collection
On-site organic food production
Ecosystemfriendly architecture

Social Sustainability of the Ecotourism Project/Business


1. Community involvement and benefits
Almost all of the companys employees (24 in total) are from the surrounding
communities in the vicinity of Las Caadas, and staff members receive
appropriate training.
Since 1998 125 peasant farmers have completed training courses. Courses on
vegetarian nutrition, peasant ecotourism, family beekeeping, preserves, and
cheese-making have been given to the neighbouring communities.
Most product and service suppliers are local.
Economic Sustainability of the Ecotourism Project/Business
1. Marketing and promotion
Various promotional activities are carried out using:
Brochures
Alternative tourism fora
Website (www.bosquedeniebla.com.mx)
Magazine articles (National Geographic and others)
Radio and television interviews
Tourism trade fairs
Familiarization tours
Promotional information provided:
Ecological information, the small number of guests put up in eco-accommodation
so as to minimize the impact on the environment, the food prepared from organic
products, information on agro-ecological and community activities, eco-
technologies, and how guests help to conserve natural areas and support local
communities.
Magazine articles have proved to be the most effective means of promotion, and
hence further opportunities of this type are continually being sought.

2. Profitability of the Ecotourism Business


The company reached its break-even point in June 2000, and future prospects
appear to be good.
The domestic market is the primary market, and while seasonal market
fluctuations exist, they are not especially pronounced.
Approximately 150 guests come every month. At the present time 20 % of our
guests are returning visitors, and that percentage is on the rise.

Cooperation in Ecotourism Business Operation


The Las Caadas project is a member of the Asociacin Mejicana de Turismo de
Aventura y Ecoturismo (AMTAVE) [Mexican Adventure Tourism and Ecotourism
Association] and the Bioplaneta Ecotourism Network. Cooperation with the latter is
working exceptionally well both for marketing activities and mutual reinforcement with
other, mainly community ecotourism undertakings. There is very close cooperation with
Pronatura A.C. as concerns conservation. Ties to the Chapingo (Mexico) and Earth
(Costa Rica) Universities are maintained. Ecotourism is basic to the relationship with all
the above-mentioned entities because of its importance to the management of natural
resources

Regulation of Ecotourism Activities


To date there is no regulatory framework that either is conducive to or interferes with the
ecotourism activity we carry out. A voluntary code of conduct has been drawn up, and
compliance is quite easy on account of the small number of guests (a maximum of 12
persons per weekend), the philosophy underlying the project, the environment, and the
eco-technologies employed. The Bioplaneta ecotourism network is working on
implementing an ecotourism certification system that associates will have to fulfil.

Problems and their Solutions:


Ecological and social common sense were able to offset an initial unfamiliarity with what
ecotourism is and how eco-accommodation should be operated in a privately protected
nature reserve.
The primary and largest problem was and still is the lack of a marketing and promotional
strategy. This came very close to pushing the undertaking into bankruptcy, though in
recent months major articles came to fruition in magazines like National Geographic and
free radio and television promotion was secured, and this, together with word of mouth
and repeat visits by guests, has succeeded in stabilizing the situation, at least for the
short term.