Health & Safety training for community tourism in a post-COVID era

“Thanks to the project’s workshop, we have a chance to sit together, have open discussions and be engaged in developing our community rules” - Mr. Trinh Van Kim (Doi Ngo village, Van Long NR).

Doi Ngo_Vietnam_Planeterra_IUCN

In July and August 2022, our team in Vietnam conducted training on Health and Safety (H&S) implications in community tourism at Cuc Phuong National Park and Van Long Wetlands Nature Reserve.

With this activity, we aimed to provide suggestions on operational procedures to manage health risks for tourism-related experiences in a post-COVID-19 era. We also wanted to share public space renovation ideas to create a safe tourism environment in the communities and guide service providers in good practices for waste treatment.

A total of 58 people attended the H&S workshops at two villages in Cuc Phuong National Park and 125 at three villages in Van Long Wetlands Nature Reserve.

During these sessions, community members became aware of the Rules and Regulations in H&S and community tourism services proposed by local authorities and developed a Code of Conduct for H&S and Services, including a set of rules that guests should follow during their stay in the villages.

In addition, the local community agreed on an Action Plan for renovating the public space to create a clean, healthy, and safe environment to welcome guests. Some of the proposed interventions are:

  • Transforming a designated area in Khanh village into a parking lot and planting tall trees to provide shade.
  • Reducing waste in every household.
  • Making the villages even more picturesque by planting more flowers and decorating trees in front of local family homes.

Community members have also compromised to follow H&S procedures when welcoming guests and gained knowledge about the cleaning and waste management processes. 

While conducting the H&S training, our team in Vietnam reflected on the importance of sharing information about H&S-related issues with the community in general, not only with those involved in tourism. Therefore, they decided to hold different sessions, one for all residents and another for the households that provide tourism activities.

HS training - Vuon Thi_Vietnam_Planeterra_IUCN

They also realized that, when working on a project, it is crucial to have in-depth knowledge about situations, beliefs and the characteristics of each community to adjust training or activities to their specific needs.

Click here to learn more about the ‘Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas in a Post-COVID World’

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Cash-for-Work and Ecotourism itineraries in Peru

Community-led Action Plans have been a crucial part of the "Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas in a Post-COVID World” project in Peru.

During March and June 2022, our team in the field worked alongside the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in developing two Action Plans led by ten communities from the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve and Río Abiseo National Park. 

Through this participatory process, the communities determined how they envision tourism in their territories and determined concrete steps to achieve it.

One of the key elements of these plans has been the Cash-for-Work (CFW) interventions, through which the Project will finance the construction of the infrastructure and equipment that each community established in their Action Plans.

In Río Abiseo and Amarakaeri, these include the renovation of bridges and accessible tourist trails, the implementation of a restaurant, a reception house for guests, and a tourist viewpoint, among others.

The initial state of a bridge in the Pucallpillo Community, Río Abiseo National Park

With the CFW programs, Planeterra and IUCN aim to impact 107 families in the Río Abiseo National Park and 75 families in the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve.

The benefits not only include purchasing construction materials, but also providing jobs to the community members participating in the Project.

The success and continuation of this process lie in the collaboration of several stakeholders. These include local offices from the protected areas of Río Abiseo and Amarakaeri of the SERNANP (the Peruvian National Service for Natural Areas Protected by the State) and the Amarakaeri Administration Contract Executor (also known by its acronym in Spanish, ECA) and of course, the representatives from the local communities. 

Socialization Workshop, Boca Ishiriwe, Amarakaeri Communal Reserve

Additionally, between June 10 and 21, 2022, 145 participants from five communities of Río Abiseo National Park were trained on how to create Ecotourism Itineraries and Products.

The training sessions were developed in collaboration with the IUCN and aimed to evaluate and create specific knowledge in the following areas:

  • Ecotourism and its different types of experiences: Each session explained the opportunities of ecotourism-related activities and their connection with conservation.
  • Developing tourism products: Tailor-made itineraries according to the local context and market opportunities.
  • Measuring the potential of an attraction: Through in-field technical visits to the main attractions of the communities.
  • Itinerary planning and costs: Practical workshops to build itineraries based on the experiences and expectations of community members.
  • Communication management between stakeholders: To create the final itineraries, it was important to keep in close communication with stakeholders such as the SERNANP.

Training sessions were tailored to meet the needs and potential of each community. 

Action Plan Workshop, Rio Abiseo

As a result, five communities in Rio Abiseo have itineraries that include traditional activities, costs, and the number of people responsible for each experience, making them an attractive option for local and regional tour operations to promote the destination. 

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Meet some of the local entrepreneurs in Río Abiseo, Peru

In Peru, community members have developed action plans to recover the local tourism industry and ensure that there will be even more benefits for the communities.

Santa Rosa Community, Rio Abiseo National Park_IUCN_Planeterra

As the tourism industry begins to recover, Planeterra is working around the world to ensure that more communities will have access to the positive impacts of the tourism industry as it returns! One of the ways we are doing this is through our partnership with IUCN in Peru.

Planeterra’s local team has identified local tourism entrepreneurs in protected areas looking to create new or improve existing tourism experiences.

When done sustainably, tourism in protected areas provides a way for community members and travellers to enjoy and celebrate the natural beauty of the lands, while increasing our overall well-being and connectedness to nature.

Meet some of the local entrepreneurs in World Heritage Site, Río Abiseo, in Peru who will be improving and developing their products with us over the coming months:

Clara del Águila Aspajo, Santa Rosa Community, Rio Abiseo National Park

Clara del Águila Aspajo-Santa Rosa Community, Rio Abiseo National Park-IUCN

Clara is an artisanal baker. Her bread is consumed daily by community members in Santa Rosa. She bakes using local ingredients, including flour, egg, oil, yeast and occasionally cheese.

Through the project, Clara and her family hope to offer their baked goods as an experience to visitors. To accomplish this, they will be working to diversify the types of bread they produce and how to turn the bread-making process into a fun experience. 

Clara hopes to showcase locally sourced ingredients with her bread, like cocoa, sausage and yucca. She also wants to show visitors the important role her bakery plays in community life in Santa Rosa!

Jerly Huaman Quispe, San Juan del Abiseo – Rio Abiseo National Park

Jerly Huaman Quispe_San Juan del Abiseo - Rio Abiseo National Park_IUCN_planeterra

Jerly wants to create an ecotourism product which highlights natural drinks made from medicinal barks from trees in San Juan del Abiseo.

In order to do this, Jerly is looking for support through the project on how to create a sustainable tourism experience that is aligned with conservation goals in his protected area. 

His location is accessible to the flow of visitors coming to Rio Abiseo. With the new experience, Jerly hopes more people will visit his community and see its natural beauty.

Sandro Sandoval Caballero, Pucallpillo Community, Rio Abiseo National Park

Sandro Sandoval Caballero_Pucallpillo Community, Rio Abiseo National Park_IUCN_Planeterra

Sandro is a cocoa farmer. He hopes to create an ecotourism experience that will allow visitors to understand the full cocoa production process. Visitors will learn about (and participate in!) planting, harvesting, post-harvest and marketing of cocoa.

Through the project, Sandro hopes to learn more about tourism, and how he can turn his cocoa production into a fun and educational experience for visitors to Pucallpillo.

The community currently sells cocoa products to the European market through their own community-based enterprise called “Choba Choba”.

Rodolfo Vargas Vásquez, Pizarro Community, Rio Abiseo National Park

Rodolfo Vargas Vásquez_Pizarro Community, Rio Abiseo National Park_IUCN_Planeterra

Rodolfo is a beekeeper and honey producer. He and his community hope to teach visitors about Meliponas (stingless bees), including a demonstration of how they take care of this special bee.

Breeding of Meliponas is a livelihood of community members. They aim to create an ecotourism experience that complements this livelihood without compromising the conservation of the species. 

A beekeeping tourism experience in Pizarro would be the first offered in the protected area and a special experience for any visitor.

In Peru, community members along with protected area site managers have developed Action Plans to recover the local tourism industry and ensure that there will be even more benefits for the local communities in the future!

These entrepreneurs will receive training on product development, marketing, and health and safety over the coming months to improve their overall products.

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How we’re keeping communities at the center of tourism recovery in Vietnam

We were able to identify four villages with high community tourism and socio-economic impact potential for project intervention at Cuc Phuong National Park.

As a well-known destination in Southeast Asia, Vietnam has beautiful beaches, vibrant cities, diverse cultures, expansive coastlines, mountains, deltas and much more, attracting over 18 million international visitors in 2019.

These visitors contributed over US$ 33.1 million to Vietnam’s growing economy and made it one of the most popular countries to visit in Southeast Asia. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic,  Vietnam’s economy has suffered greatly from the halt in tourism. In 2020, revenue from tourism decreased dramatically, generating only 42% compared to 2019.

This has had a substantial impact on the people and places once frequently visited by international guests.

Planeterra’s work with the IUCN aims to offer and grow the benefits of sustainable community tourism in response to the impacts of the pandemic.

The project targets community members who have suffered financial loss from COVID-19 and introduces community tourism as a way to make the industry more sustainable and beneficial for all people and nature, as tourism returns to Vietnam.

The project is focused on two protected areas in North Vietnam: Cuc Phuong National Park and Van Long Wetland Natural Reserve.

Introducing Cuc Phuong National Park

In January, Planeterra’s project team in Vietnam visited Cuc Phuong National Park for the first time to kick off the project activities. Established in 1962, Cuc Phuong is the oldest national park in Vietnam, showcasing an engaging cultural and wildlife heritage with enchanting scenery.

Covered in a dense forest, this landscape forms the habitat for some of Asia’s rarest animal and plant species, like the Delacour’s Langur (Trachipythecus delacouri), Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) and Vietorchis Aurea Aver Orchid.

The national park’s management board has done an amazing job in offering unique experiences with valuable knowledge in biodiversity conservation to both domestic and international visitors.

In 2020, the number of tourists visiting Cuc Phuong dropped by 50%. Subsequently, the number of visitors to communities around the park also decreased. In other villages with no prior tourism activities, people have also struggled to make ends meet.

Activities in Cuc Phuong over the past months

Working closely with IUCN and the management board of Cuc Phuong National Park, we were able to identify four villages with high community tourism and socio-economic impact potential for project intervention.

In order to better understand their situation, the Planeterra team first conducted a baseline survey of 185 community members.  Through this process, we learned that community members have a high interest to participate in tourism, but very limited exposure and access to the market.

The survey results provide a thorough understanding of how COVID-19 has impacted the communities’ livelihoods, their current tourism initiatives and their interest in engaging in community-based tourism.

Future project activities will be adapted to ensure that the interests of the local community are at the center of our work.

Planeterra is also working in Vietnam currently, and we will update you on that progress soon! We thank you and our entire community for supporting us and the communities we work with.

Stay tuned for our next activities in Van Long Nature Reserve!

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Sustainable tourism as a driver for Economic Growth in Peru

The Peru team met with community members to discuss project goals & to better understand tourism potential.


Peru is known for its rich natural and cultural history, Peru drew over 4.5 million tourists in 2019, generating over US$ 4.7 million and 3.5 million jobs.

Within its three geographic regions, Peru contains 80% of the world’s climate types and 84 of the 114 life zones. Peru’s people and economy have suffered greatly from a loss of tourism revenue because of the pandemic.

Between January and July 2020, the arrival of international tourists decreased by 67.3%, compared to the same period of the previous year.

Our work with IUCN will support a COVID-19 response to impacts on local benefits from tourism by collaborating with communities in two protected areas in Peru, the Rio Abiseo National Park and Amarakaeri Communal Reserve.


Introducing Rio Abiseo

In January, Planeterra’s project team in Peru visited Rio Abiseo National Park for the first time to kick off the project activities. Rio Abiseo is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site covering 274,520 hectares of the Eastern Cordillera – a vital part of the Amazon watershed.

The area protects thousands of species of flora and fauna, including iconic, rare and endemic Amazon wildlife such as the critically endangered yellow-tailed woolly monkey and the Huallaga Toucanet!

A significant area of the Park is under rehabilitation, which has the potential to provide local employment and ‘green jobs‘ with further investment. In 2019, there were approximately 1,200 visitors, mainly domestic, but the steady increase in international guests was cause for optimism and growth in tourism service and promotion for the area along the value chain.

However, in 2020 this growth substantially decreased. Our team is working to implement the training and development needed to activate the community’s vision for sustainable tourism in the national park; particularly, through community-based tourism initiatives.


Activities in Rio Abiseo Last Month

In the last week of January, the Peru team met with 77 community members across five villages to discuss project goals, better understand the tourism potential of each community, and most importantly, learn about the communities’ vision for their families and how nature-based tourism can play a key role in achieving those goals.

During the first week of February, 150 baseline surveys were conducted to better understand how COVID-19 has impacted the communities’ livelihoods, their current tourism initiatives and their perception about implementing sustainable tourist products in post-pandemic scenarios, so that project activities can be adapted to community needs, and impact tracked over time!

Planeterra_IUCN_Dos de Mayo_Rio_Abiseo_cocina

Planeterra and IUCN are working together to ensure that communities will once again benefit from sustainable tourism, and that tourism is better integrated into protected area management planning and operations at both sites in Peru, and inform a blueprint for other places in the country!

We are also working in Vietnam currently, and we will update you on that progress soon! We thank you and our entire community for supporting us and the communities we work with.

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More about our partnership with IUCN

We're thrilled to be working together with IUCN to deliver community tourism development, with a focus on four protected areas in Peru and Vietnam.

The Planeterra team is excited to share more about our partnership with IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature. We are working together to deliver community tourism development, with a focus on four protected areas in Peru and Vietnam.

Protected Areas play a crucial role in maintaining the health of the planet and our health as a species. They are important in conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services, such as food, clean water supply, medicines and protection from the impacts of natural disasters.

Tourism is a key economic driver to support protected areas and provides a way to foster the public’s and local communities’ connections to protected areas. Tourism can provide a powerful argument for the conservation of protected areas because it depends on beautiful natural areas, healthy wildlife, and authentic cultures.

Sadly, COVID-19 has already resulted in the closure of parks and protected areas in many countries.

There are concerns that as a result of job loss, many people living around the national parks are considering bringing back unsustainable forms of income, including hunting, mining and deforestation. 

Tourism provided jobs and a sustainable income for families and helped protect the environment.

Planeterra and the IUCN are working in Peru and Vietnam to bridge the gap created by the pandemic on tourism in and around priority protected areas and kickstart economic recovery through community-led tourism.

Our goal is not to simply get tourism back to where it was before, but to do tourism better for the people, wildlife and ecosystems in the targeted protected areas.


Over the past 2 years of the pandemic, we’ve witnessed the vulnerability of people, livelihoods and economies to the declining health of our environment.

However, it has also highlighted that human health and well-being depend on healthy ecosystems and biodiversity providing essential goods and services.

Recognizing that tourism operations need to become more sustainable and nature-oriented, Planeterra and IUCN are working with Indigenous people, local communities and protected area managers to build up safe, equitable and sustainable community-based tourism experiences.

These experiences are strengthened with community benefit-sharing programs to support community recovery from the pandemic and to build a better future for people and wildlife.

To achieve this, Planeterra will provide training to community members to improve their tourism businesses and increase their benefits.

Planeterra has welcomed six people to our team, Phuong Tran and Richard Bazan Callupe, who will be managing the project in Peru and Vietnam as well as two more team members in each region!

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