What impact have you had on your clients and the tourism sector?
1. Bring the Perica community together by holding stakeholder meetings to incite discussion and interest in sustainable tourism.
2. Hold various participatory workshops with stakeholders to do the following:
a. Identify key areas along the Perica that would be suitable for tourism development
b. Identify key stories of historical importance and interest that would be conveyed to tourists
c. Identify sustainable sources of income related to tourism – tour guiding, bird watching, craft making, river excursions, etc.
5. Educate the local community about the importance of environmental stewardship, including mangrove and river ecosystems and land based resources which will incite the slowing of environmental degradation in the area.
7. Seek out a pro bono environmental consultant to formulate a draft restoration plan for the physical restoration of the river system.
8. Train local residents in the sustainable tourism related activities adopted in the first workshops, as well as in small business management and customer service.
9. Have sustainable tourism businesses up and running by the beginning of the 3rd year
The results in the first three years of the project will mainly be in the form of capacity development and training and include the following:
1. Awareness and appreciation of the links between the environment and sustainable livelihoods and the importance of using our natural resources wisely is increased among the general public,stakeholders, government officials and politicians
2. Residents trained in environmental education and practical skills related to the sustainable tourism
3. Decline or cessation of degradation of the natural habitat surrounding the Perica
4. Four training workshops, including customer service, small business management, tour guiding, and handicrafts production.
5. Increased capacity for Perica residents to manage small tourism related business
6. Increased income for the residents of the Perica from sustainable tourism related activities
What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.
Year 1: Participatory Planning Workshops: in an effort to open a dialogue amongst a broad range of stakeholders. The main objective of these workshops will be to determine the Surinamese community’s vision for sustainable use of the Perica River, assessing the feasibility of different options, and developing a plan to pursue the vision. The plan would directly benefit a number of fish and bird species while addressing the river’s main conservation needs, including removal of impediments to natural hydrologic flow, improvement of habitats and re-establishment of flora and fauna, as well as the community’s need for sustainable economic development opportunities (e.g. ecotourism). A wide range of stakeholders (local NGOs, government, fishing community, businesses, residents, etc.) will be invited to participate in the planning process and share their views. Additionally, experts such as marine, wetland, and coral reef restoration ecologists, ornithologists, marine engineers, and sustainable tourism experts will provide assessments and expert advice to help guide the restoration planning.
Year 2: Increase awareness of the importance of mangrove and river ecosystems in Perica—their ecology, history, and economic and cultural importance, and increase knowledge and appreciation of Perica’s fish and bird life. Activities under this phase include but are not limited to:
• Dissemination of an educational brochure/fact sheet on the story of Perica
• Preparation and publication of article(s) on the Perica River restoration project in the local newspapers
• Establishment of a Perica River Restoration Project website with updates, materials and information
• Conducting interviews on local radio and writing press releases for newspapers about the project; invite the community to be involved in the restoration work and other activities
• Continuation of local celebrations of World Wetlands Day and International Coastal Clean-up Day
Year 3: Develop sustainable local tourism and livelihood opportunities for local people. Our approach will be to facilitate the creation of a community vision and overall strategic plan following some key principles and guidelines. Developing a marketing plan, building infrastructure, rehabilitating tourist attractions, training guides and developing a Perica Watchable Wildlife River with a renewal theme.
What would prevent your project from being a success?
Lack of stakeholder buy in would be a road block to the completion of this project, as it is imperative that the community in the Perica sees the local benefits of this project. Should they not, there is the risk that the project could be sabotaged. In order to avoid this, a participatory approach in all stages of planning and implementation will be taken.
As the Perica is in a remote area it is difficult to draw and keep highly qualified personnel to a project such as this as well as to attract appropriately qualified people to conduct training workshops.