Project experts from the Dominican Republic shared best practices and achievements in the 14 provinces of Cibao, where the project was carried out from 2016 to early 2022.
The Dominican Republic has positioned itself as an example of good practices in Sustainable Community Tourism in the region thanks to the results obtained by the “Project for the strengthening of the mechanism for sustainable community-based tourism development in the northern region”, implemented by various Dominican institutions with the technical support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
During an event jointly organized by JICA and the Secretariat for Central American Tourism Integration (SITCA), this successful experience was shared with delegates from the National Tourism Administrations (ANT) of Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic, as the country that currently holds the Pro Tempore Presidency of the Central American Tourism Council (CCT).
The virtual meeting was attended by more than a hundred guests from regional and Caribbean organizations related to tourism, and was chaired by the representative of the PPT/CCT and Vice Minister of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, Carlos Peguero; the Director General of the National Institute for Technical and Vocational Training of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Santos; the Director General of Bilateral Cooperation, Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development of the Dominican Republic (MEPyD), Clara Aquino, and the Resident Representative of JICA in the Dominican Republic, Takayuki Kondo, and the Interim for Financial Affairs of SITCA, Katherine Vado.
Project experts from the Dominican Republic shared best practices and achievements in the 14 Cibao provinces where the project was implemented from 2016 to early 2022.
In terms of community businesses, the project has achieved the integration of 31 productive units, 41 new products and 1800 direct beneficiaries, while more than 3,200 people have been trained and an equal number sensitized on the subject.
In terms of governance, the Strategic Plan for the Northern Region has been established and manuals and practical guides were designed that will enable replication of this project in other regions of the country, among other achievements.
The JICA resident representative in the Dominican Republic, Takayuki Kondo, acknowledged the public policies and strategic efforts of the Dominican government and the private sector that have allowed the positioning of tourism as a basis for the reactivation of an economy seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He indicated that Sustainable Community Tourism is a modality with great potential for the development of communities, which is why JICA has been a pioneer in supporting this type of initiative in the country for more than 15 years.
Representatives of the Ministry of Tourism; the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development, as well as the director of the National Institute of Technical Professional Training (INFOTEP) highlighted the need for community participation in the tourism sector and the development of tourism Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as a tool to fight poverty, as a mechanism for the survival of communities and for the conservation of cultural heritage.
On her part, Katherine Vado Rivera, Interim for Financial Affairs of SITCA, highlighted the objectives that the Central American Tourism Council (CCT) is currently working on within the framework of the Strategic Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development (2021-2025) to design a Regional Tourism Policy that contemplates a sustainable integrated tourism model to turn the entire region into a multi-destination that, through community participation, promotes employment opportunities in the host communities.
During the event, the other member countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA) and the CCT shared their experiences in the development of Sustainable Community Tourism and the achievements obtained through local initiatives.
The project for the strengthening of the mechanism for community-based sustainable tourism development in the northern region of the Dominican Republic (TCS Project), was implemented by the Ministry of Tourism (MITUR) and the National Institute for Technical and Vocational Training (INFOTEP), with the coordination of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development (MEPyD) and the technical support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
This initiative sought to articulate and consolidate the community tourist attractions of the 14 provinces of the Northern Region or Cibao, applying an approach of institutional strengthening at the community, regional and national levels with a vision of “Regional Tourist Destination” that can serve the opportunities for business and territorial development of the communities.