World Conservation Union states that ecotourism “ is environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate natural ( and any accompanying cultural features-both past and present) that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor impact and provides for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local population.”
The aim of the workshop was to improve the management of protected areas through the sharing of best practices and experiences between stakeholders and communities. 55 participants from Guyana, Suriname, Peru, Colombia and French Guiana shared their experiences in ecotourism in natural protected areas. These exchanges revealed the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to the development of ecotourism in the protected areas of the region.
The working sessions helped define the different issues faced by each territory, and the group discussions helped identify the various opportunities for collaboration.
In order to meet the objectives of this 2nd Regional Workshop in Suriname, case studies and practices were presented from the 5 participating countries and 3 discussion groups were developed. On the agenda: community ecotourism, challenges related to the isolation of the territories and opportunities of partnerships and networking. These groups were able to carry out a common discussion while having full knowledge of the legislative and organisational constraints of the countries. Three discussion panels also completed the agenda on the need for continuous training and professionalisation of tourism stakeholders in protected areas, on the impacts of legal and illegal activities, on the exploration of other forms of tourism in and around the protected areas of the Guiana Shield, on the development of innovative forms of eco-tourism, as well as opportunities for collaboration.
What all the participants agreed on was that ecotourism in protected areas can only be done with local populations.
About the partners presentations
How can ecotourism in protected areas contribute to the sustainable livelihoods for local communities ?
How to improve scope of tourism and exploring other forms of tourism in and around protected areas ?
Solutions to challenges met in ecotourism development in protected areas of the Guianas