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16 de September de 2014Rural community tourism generates inclusion and development
1img - Rural community tourism generates inclusion and development

CAF and CODESPA presented two publications that compile the systematization and methodology of the RUTAS program that promotes the economic development of indigenous communities in Bolivia,Ecuador, and Peru, benefitting close to 3,000 inhabitants 

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With the purpose of repeating the experience of the programa de Turismo Rural Comunitario (RUTAS) (Rural Community Tourism program (RUTAS), CAF, Development Bank of Latin America, and the Fundacion Codespa (Codespa Foundation), presented two publications that compile and systematize the methodology developed in indigenous communities of Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. 

During the presentation ceremony, Magali Silva Velarde-Alvarez, Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur, for its acronym in Spanish); Silvia Oteyza, CAF's Social Sustainability Director; Eleonora Silva, CAF's Director Representative in Peru; and Marcello Gandolfi, Project Director at Codespa-España, agreed on the fact that rural community tourism is a catalyzer for inclusion and sustainable development for the countries in the region. 

After thanking the CAF-Codespa alliance to promote Rural Community Tourism (TRC, for its acronym in Spanish) as an opportunity to provide income to the poorest communities, Minister Silva stated that this program seeks to make the rural population become aware of the importance of re-discovering our cultural roots and respect the millenary inheritance of Peru. 

She stated, "Tourism in Peru has an enormous potential, it is an activity that annually generates between 3.8 and 4 percent of GDP. In addition, it employs close to 100,000 people, and 20 percent of this employment is already being generated in the rural tourism communities". Then she added that the Mincetur works with more than 30 rural communities to generate strategic alliances to strengthen tourism in those areas, and stated her interest in signing an inter-institutional agreement with CAF and Codespa in the near future, in order to expand the TRC project in other areas of Peru. 

At the same time, Silvia Oteyza, CAF's Director of Social Sustainability, stated that RUTAS is an initiative that consolidates a quality tourism offer with a clear orientation toward the sustainability of community tourism entrepreneurships to improve the lives of the rural populations in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. She added, "CAF, as a development bank that promotes sustainable development and regional integration, creates these types of socio-productive inclusion initiatives, seeking to generate alliances in the region with governmental institutions, organizations of the civil society, and communities, in order to be able to repeat these successful experiences in other countries of Latin America". 

Eleonora Pardo Silva, CAF's Director Representative in Peru, highlighted that Latin America is well known for its cultural diversity, natural beauty, and history, so rural community tourism has become an appropriate channel to make improvements in the quality of life of poor rural communities. She added that "in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, rural tourism represents a great development opportunity for the communities, as the presence of social, natural, and cultural distinctive elements allows for the creation and management of innovating tourism products that may complement the existing offer and lead to a greater inclusion in the benefits of tourism activities". 

At the same time, Marcello Gandolfi, Project Director of Codespa-España, stated that through the RUTAS program tourism packages are offered by the members of the poor rural communities who have created tourism services as sources of income in addition to their traditional activities: agriculture, livestock, and trade.  He added that this program for the inclusion of productive capacities has benefitted 1,050 villagers of the Aymara ethnic group of the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru. Fifty-five percent of those benefited by the program are women. 

 Gandolfi also stated that the "The RUTAS program seeks to include the indigenous populations in tourism activities looking to generate economic benefits and better life conditions from the responsible and sustainable use of the natural and cultural resources of their communities". 

The ministries of Tourism of the three countries, regional and local governments, actors form the civil society, travel agents, tour operators, and other private enterprises have all joined to participate in this initiative. 

Local experience

With respect to Peru, a total of 660 families of eight farming communities of the districts of Pisac, Lamay, Coya, Urubamba and Ollantaytambo in the area of the "Sacred Valley of the Incas" in the region of Cuzco benefit form the Rural Community Tourism Program.

"RUTAS" has directly increased the income of 160 indigenous families and, indirectly, that of 500 families in the communities of Amaru, Huayllafara, Janan Chuquibamba, Chumpe, Patabamba, Chibubamba, Cachiccata and Socma, grouped in the Association "La Tierra de los Yachaqs" (The Land of the Yachaqs).

It should be noted that the sales team of the "La Tierra de los Yachaqs" Association has developed a direct contact strategy with 137 travel/tour operators, of which already 23 continuously send clients to the communities, and 114 are in the process of closing agreements. 

 

 

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