Ecotourism to profit from and develop protect areas
Villa Pajon. photo villapajon.do
Santo Domingo.- Ecotourism can be a major step toward sustainable development, to preserve Dominican Republic’s protected areas and is the key strategy to insert communities into their environment, turning them into guardians of the parks’ health.
José Delio Guzmán, whose family owns Villa Pajón Ecolodge, a green hotel operating in Valle Nuevo since 1983, spoke at APEC University’s “Valle Nuevo” panel on the Environment Week held at the higher learning center.
Guzmán, who holds a degree in Management of Protected Areas from Costa Rica International Cooperation University, affirms that the fact that tourism is the sector which posted the strongest growth in the global economy and in the country, is reason enough to develop ecotourism in the national parks, and would also diversify Dominican Republic’s attractions.
“In the Caribbean region, the Dominican Republic has a variety of microclimates that the other islands don’t have, which allows to develop a more specialized offer to complement the Sun and Beach segment, a competitive advantage compared to the nearest destinations,” the environmentalist said, interviewed by elnacional.com.do.
He said that communities around protected areas, such as Valle Nuevo, can live off ecotourism, an alternative that can generate higher incomes than agriculture or the use of forests, for which it’s necessary to develop a platform to offer those services that visitors demand and establish the channels of promote and sell that niche.
“Of the 14,195 visitors that Valle Nuevo had in 2016, 4,380 (31%) stayed in Villa Pajón, and only 18% of the total were foreigners; Which gives us to understand that if the offer exists and if promoted, more visitors will arrive,” Guzman said, adding that the World Tourism Organization affirms that nature-based tourism accounts for 20% of international travel and is one of the most robust growth trends towards 2030.”