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people directly impacted
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community members benefitting

Baracoa Community Tour

Baracoa, Cuba

Critical Need

Baracoa was the first city founded by the Spanish, conquered during the XV century in Cuba. It has spectacular beaches and landscapes and is surrounded by a wide mountain range with a tropical rainforest climate. Baracoa’s economy is predominantly agricultural, based on three key items: coconut, cacao and banana production. Its remote location at the eastern end of the Cuban island has kept the influence of mass tourism quite low, resulting in few economic opportunities for families who live primarily in rural areas.

 

Local families who live around Baracoa City in villages like Duaba, El Jamal and Yumury have had their houses destroyed by multiple hurricanes resulting in the loss of most belongings. Economic opportunities that enable local families to remain living in their communities were desperately needed, that’s why they see tourism as an economic opportunity. They have developed family micro-enterprises related to tourism services such as a cacao tour, new restaurants, and handicrafts, sharing their unique Cuban culture.  However, these micro-enterprises were in need of guidance to develop innovative experiences and access to customers to reach its full potential in order to achieve financial success. Families also needed guidance to avoid and prevent the negative impacts that tourism can generate, such as losing unique traditions and cultures. 

Our Involvement

Planeterra is working with family-owned micro-enterprises of Baracoa rural areas by creating a  network of micro-enterprises and integrating their tour into trip itineraries. Planeterra funded training and capacity building for the local families providing a much-needed boost for these communities. Through these funds, they will be able to hire more members of the community, creating ripple effects resulting in the further development of projects which positively impact the community. 

 

Travellers have the opportunity to learn from local guides, participate in local living experiences and make some traditional delicacies. Travellers also have the chance to purchase unique handicrafts, all supporting the women, men and youth of Baracoa.

Impact

The primary positive social impacts of this collaboration is increased revenue flow into the family-owned micro-enterprises, promotion of local businesses and projects, and the breakdown of stereotypes that severely limit the local families from being included in the tourism industry. Through this cultural immersion tour, Planeterra has worked with the Baracoa Community to include visits to multiple family-owned micro-enterprises related to local cultural activities. Three villages are visited by this tour, resulting in 200 people being impacted. Investments into local capacity have provided our partners with the necessary tools and resources to improve the overall quality of their projects, develop sustainable new revenue streams and receive tourists in a professional manner, ultimately increasing their social, economic and environmental impact while generating additional jobs and positive visibility for their community.

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