New initiative designed to improve well-being of residents, visitors and the environment
This week the Panama Government, in partnership with the Panamanian Foundation for Sustainable Tourism (APTSO), Fundación Natura, and non-profit Planeterra, the global leader in community tourism enterprise development, announced a joint venture to work with communities across Panama to build community tourism experiences that improve the well-being of residents, visitors, and the environment, celebrating the natural beauty and must-have cultural experiences the country offers.
The new partnership aims to reposition Panama as a destination focused on incredible cultural immersion experiences for travellers that leave a positive footprint on the country in terms of supporting local people and businesses, and ensures traveller dollars stay in-destination.
“The launch of the Panama Alliance for Community Tourism (PACT) is a major break-through in the implementation of Panama’s Sustainable Tourism Master Plan”, explained Ivan Eskildsen, the Panamanian Minister of Tourism.
“In our Master Plan, we have prioritized the development of tourism experiences focused on the ‘discerning traveler’, a global trend that is demanding more and more authentic experiences that benefit local communities, and their surrounding environment. We are excited that PACT will accelerate the implementation of this strategy, with local and global partners that will help Panama consolidate world-class community tourism experiences, that showcase the extraordinary wealth of our natural and cultural heritage.”
The partners involved in the PACT initiative plan to work closely with at least 10 communities and their tourism enterprises in order to assist them with income diversification, product development, and customer service. Long-term sustainability will be a focus for the initiative’s pilot projects, which will include training local counterparts in Planeterra’s highly successful community-led tourism development methodology and local communities in all aspects of the tourism value chain, including business planning, regenerative agriculture and resiliency building in order to ensure each community is set up for success.
“Planeterra is excited to work with APTSO, Fundación Natura and the Ministry of Tourism to launch this groundbreaking community tourism initiative,” says Jamie Sweeting, president of Planeterra.
“We look forward to bringing Planeterra’s proven approach to empowering community-led tourism to Panama and, in the process, strengthening local partners to lead this initiative forward.”
“The PACT partners share a vision for using proven solutions to put host communities at the heart of tourism in Panama,” explained Annie Young, president of the Panamanian Foundation for Sustainable Tourism (APTSO). “Through close collaboration, we can achieve the goals of the Tourism Vision 2025 of the Panama Sustainable Tourism Master Plan and become globally recognized as a world-class sustainable tourism destination while supporting the wellbeing of our communities.”
Planeterra is committed to turning travel into impact by helping local communities earn an income from tourism. It is a non-profit organization created in 2003 by G Adventures’ founder, Bruce Poon Tip and was started with the purpose of connecting underserved communities to opportunities in the travel industry. Planeterra helps local organizations and communities use tourism as a catalyst to improve people’s lives, protect their natural environments, and celebrate their culture. For more information please visit www.planeterra.org