Background and goals
Although traditional tourism is an important activity in the development and economy of the Yucatan Peninsula, it has also been identified as an activity that causes negative impacts to the environment and host communities when it is carried out in a poorly planned manner.
The World Tourism Organization defines ecotourism as “All nature-based forms of tourism in which the main motivation of the tourists is the observation and appreciation of nature as well as the traditional cultures prevailing in natural areas.” From its very beginning, alternative tourism, emphasizes of making the whole tourism sector more sustainable, increasing the economic and social benefits for local communities, contributing to the conservation of natural resources, and enhance awareness of travelers about conservation of natural and cultural heritage.
In this context, The Ecotourism and Biodiversity Program is developed as a strategy contributing to the planning, design and development of a sustainable tourism, focused on the specialized segments. We aim to promote the sustainable use of natural resources, at the same time we help the local communities to have a tangible benefit.
In the past 20 years, our work includes projects on topics like local guides training; interpretive trails design and development, promotional materials designs and commercialization of products and services carried out by rural communities; as well as projects associated with promoting bird tourism in the peninsula.
How and where we work?
We promote ecotourism as a sustainable activity that contributes to social welfare, conservation and biodiversity-based knowledge. We work mainly in the natural areas of the peninsula and its area of influence. Likewise, we intend that these areas be recognized by society as entertainment sites and providers of goods and services for society.
We see as an opportunity the increase of demand in the market of the alternative tourism segment, as well as the collection of technical information that we generate in collaboration with partner organizations for the development of projects and as a tool to elaborate plans for public use, ensuring the investment in maintaining biodiversity.
Our lines of actions are:
- Strengthening of local capacities: i) Specialized Naturalist Guides; ii) Management of Tourism in Natural Areas and its area of influence.
Environmental Interpretation / Environment: Translate (Interpret) the information generated by technical projects in printed and electronic formats, to disseminate and promote knowledge of Peninsular species and ecosystems.
Link research and monitoring projects as generators of solid technical information to guide and plan the management of tourism in natural areas.
We are part of the Organizing Committee of the Festival de las Aves Toh founding members. Since 2001 the Festival has been positioned as one of the most important birding festivals in the Yucatan Peninsula, including several activities from march to november, as workshops, ecotourism tours, events for kids, conferences, contest and the bird-a-thon. More information about fhe Festival can be found on www.festivalavesyucatan.com and www.facebook.com/FestivalAvesTohYucatan.
We are part of the Organizing Committee of the Festival de Aviturismo de Campeche, which has been held for the past 4 years. More information about the Festival in www.facebook.com/FestivalAviturismoCampeche.
Currently, Pronatura works directly in the following projects:
- Strengthening Ecotourism in Calakmul and its area of influence: In recent years, an effort has been made to strengthen ecotourism products in 5 communities of Calakmul that offer different services such as hiking, biking, bird watching and wildlife, visit to caves, kayak ride, craft workshops among others. The communities are: i) La Mancolona, ii) Cristóbal Colón, iii) Eugenio Echeverría Castellot II, iv) Valentín Gómez Farías, v) November 20. More information about Calakmul at www.visitcalakmul.com and www.facebook.com/visitcalakmul.
- Birds Festivals: We are part of the founding members and the Organizing Committee of the Toh Bird Festival in Yucatan, an event that during 16 years, has positioned itself as one of the most important birdwatching festivals in the Yucatan Peninsula, including March activities to November as workshops, ecotourism tours, children’s events, conferences, competitions and bird marathons. More information about the Festival de las Aves Toh at www.festivalavesyucatan.com and www.facebook.com/FestivalAvesTohYucatan.
We are part of the Organizing Committee of the Festival of Aviturismo de Campeche, which has been held for 4 years in that state. More information about the Festival in www.facebook.com/FestivalAviturismoCampeche.
Last five years funding
Alianza WWF-Fundación Carlos Slim
Chicanná Ecovillage Resort
Fundación Cultural MACAY