Southeast Reef Sanctuary: Sustainable tourism

Through a cooperation between the Southeast Reefs Alliance, the Puntacana Group and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), the foundations were strengthened to achieve an effective management of the Southeast Reefs Marine Sanctuary (SAMAR) as a protected area.

During an event held in Punta Cana, the results of the project “Reefs and recreation: a digital and innovative alliance for the sustainability of coastal areas” were presented.

The partnership, which primarily promotes the protection of natural resources and long-term tourism sustainability, is being carried out in collaboration with Grupo Puntacana and with the support of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic, and is financed by the develoPPP program implemented by GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

SAMAR, established in 2009 by the Ministry of the Environment, seeks to conserve marine habitats and environments on the island’s southeastern continental shelf, the second largest protected area in the country.

Pnta Cana Alliance carries out actions and efforts

Arrecife SuresteTo contribute to this objective, the alliance created between GIZ and Grupo Puntacana carried out actions and efforts to consolidate sustainable tourism in the area based on efficient and effective management of the sanctuary.

Svenja Paulino, director of the Biodiversity and Business Portfolio in Central America and the RD, explained that “the only way to achieve long-term sustainable tourism is through public-private alliances with actors that not only have the capacity and resources to contribute to this objective, but also the commitment to assume the efforts involved. Grupo Puntacana is an example of this, this project is important for GIZ because this company is one of the largest and most diversified in the RD and has distinguished itself in the industry for its commitment to sustainability and long-term regional development.

Results achieved by the project

In the presentation of results achieved by the project, which seeks, among other things, to make Punta Cana more competitive as a world-class tourist destination, the presentation highlighted actions to raise awareness among local stakeholders about the importance of ecosystem services, the promotion of financial sustainability measures for the sanctuary, and finally the importance of employment and local communities for the proper development of the area.

Among the advances achieved by the project, a proposal for a financial structure for SAMAR, the participatory elaboration of the sanctuary’s Management Plan, and a Patrolling Plan proposal developed with the support of experts from Costa Rica and Honduras stand out.

Training program

In addition, a training and awareness program was established that involved teachers, community leaders, fishermen, representatives of the Eastern Alliance, and Ministry of Environment officials. Finally, as part of the initiative to boost local development, more than 30 business ideas were identified, covering areas such as nature escapes, sports and outdoor recreation, as well as culture and heritage.

“In our experience, the private sector is positioned to bring solutions to the sustainable management and conservation of coastal-marine resources, particularly in tourism. We are grateful that GIZ has shown its commitment to working hand-in-hand with the tourism industry to ensure a sustainable future,” said Jake Kheel, Vice President of Sustainability for Grupo Puntacana.

The protection of the natural resources of the Arrecifes del Sureste Marine Sanctuary is a task that is achieved through the involvement of all the key actors that are directly or indirectly linked to its operation.

The collaboration of the private sector and its work together with the public and local sectors, seeks not only regional development through sustainable tourism, but also the conservation of the ecosystem services on which the economy and life in general depend.


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Dominican Republic Live Editor

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