Pedernales has its first ecotourism travel guide
Pedernales, DR.- In a ceremony attended by governmental figures, representatives of the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID), the Dominican Institute of Integral Development (IDDI), the international NGO CESAL, and prominent members of the tourism sector of the Enriquillo region, the official presentation of the first Ecotourism Guide of Pedernales took place.
The first Ecotourism Guide of Pedernales is the result of the “Study of diagnosis and characterization of the Pedernales province as a tourist destination highlighting its main local, gastronomic, cultural and natural attractions,” which has focused on the potential integration of community tourism, providing a detailed analysis and presentation of the province’s main tourist attractions.
The study was carried out within the framework of the project “Promotion of a public-private partnership for the strengthening of the sustainable tourism chain in Pedernales,” executed by CESAL, together with IDDI as local partner and financed by AECID, which aims to contribute to the sustainable development of Pedernales based on its local, natural and cultural heritage, through the revitalization of the local economy linked to sustainable tourism development.
This intervention will be continued until 2025, thanks to the approval of a second phase by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), represented at the event by Manuel Alba, general coordinator of the Spanish Cooperation Office (OCE) in the country.
The opening speech of the event was given by the governor of the Pedernales province, Altagracia Brea, who highlighted the tourism boom in the region and its impact on the local economy.
A booming tourist territory
Since 2020, this territory has entered the priority development zones for the Dominican government based on the Cabo Rojo-Pedernales project, which has been designed under a sustainable tourism scheme in an area of 44,000,000 m2, where a hotel zone, airport, cruise port and the necessary infrastructure to meet the needs of local basic services are being developed.
“CESAL’s arrival in Pedernales in 2021, with projects financed by AECID and the European Union, to support the province in facilitating access to employment and entrepreneurship opportunities linked to the sustainable community tourism value chain, has been a driving force in the construction of this new ecotourism destination, which will promote the improvement of living conditions in the territory and the entire Enriquillo region,” said Eugenia Fernández, territorial coordinator of CESAL’s Enriquillo region.
David Luther, executive director of IDDI, highlighted that since 2015 IDDI has been involved in various initiatives in Pedernales province. These actions have contributed enormously to the sustainable development of the region, promoting the consolidation of Pedernales as an attractive tourist destination both nationally and internationally.
In addition to its collaboration with CESAL in the project focused on strengthening the sustainable tourism chain in Pedernales through public-private partnerships, IDDI has led several projects aimed at health promotion, environmental preservation, youth support, education, economic development, institutional strengthening, natural disaster preparedness, as well as the implementation of important infrastructure projects.
Carlos Andrés Peguero, Vice Minister of Tourism for International Cooperation, representative of the Tourism Ministry (Mitur), emphasized the latent State commitment to the Cabo Rojo-Pedernales project, which plans the construction of 4,700 rooms and the inauguration of its first hotel by 2024, as part of the most ambitious tourism project that the country has developed, based on a public-private partnership with an investment between US$1,000 and U$1,500 million dollars to be executed in 40 years.
According to the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development (MEPyD), this province has one of the highest poverty levels in the country, 71% (MIFRONTERARD 2022). According to SIUBEN (2021), 54% of women and 38.8% of men are unemployed.
These are two of the main motivations for the Spanish Cooperation Agency in the Dominican Republic to contribute with cooperation projects, but also with technical assistance and training, in order to collaborate with sustainable development in the area, said Manuel Alba.
During the event, David Luther, executive director of IDDI, thanked AECID and CESAL for their support and highlighted the collaborative effort found in the province during the development of the project.
The guide was presented by Milka Hernández, general manager of Grupo Sarma and lead consultant for the project, who highlighted the support of Carlos Estévez, a specialist in sustainable gastronomy, during the process of researching the gastronomic heritage, as well as the local tour guides with whom they explored every corner of the beautiful province.
“The creative and production team of this guide today feels happy and proud to show you this document, which is the culmination of a hard work of identifying resources, with the objective of contributing to the promotion of this destination,” said Hernández, responsible for the coordination and elaboration of the ecotourism guide.
At the launching ceremony of the valuable informative tool, held at the provincial governor’s office, a promotional campaign was presented to accompany the dissemination of the material in different media.
General information on the Ecotourism Guide of Pedernales
The design of the guide, available in physical and digital format, both in Spanish and English, presents the reader with a reserved destination in the midst of nature, with ancestral flavors where seafood takes center stage, and that in any season of the year shows both day and night an invitation to dive into a haven of peace.
Public institutions such as the Ministry of Tourism, the General Directorate of Public-Private Partnership (DGAPP), the Banco de Reservas, Empresa Generadora de Electricidad Haina (EGEHAINA), as well as the companies ITM Group (Puerto Cabo Rojo), Dr. Gebal Matos, Rancho Tomas de Talavera (Puerto Cabo Rojo), Dr. Gebal Matos, Rancho Talavera (Puerto Cabo Rojo) and the companies of the Ministry of Tourism. Gebal Matos, Rancho Típico Cueva de las Águilas, Eco del Mar boutique hotel and Larimar Ecotours were among the companies sponsoring the guide, while the Pedernales Tourism Cluster and the associations of guides of the Oviedo Lagoon contributed their knowledge of the territory.
Offered free of charge and easily accessible through a QR code in establishments and key places in the area, the guide can be downloaded through the Instagram account of the Pedernales Tourism Cluster, as well as on the Grupo Sarma website.