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High-value meetings promote sustainable tourism and conservation in the Lacandon Jungle

On March 15, 16 and 17, the "El Salvador International Market Ready Bootcampa commercial validation meeting between Local Ecotourism Enterprises from the areas of Las Nubes, Nahá and Metzabok in the Lacandon Jungle with seventeen agencies, tour operators and destination managers from the cities of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Palenque and Comitán, Chiapas.

Business Validation Meeting: Important Steps to Create a Sustainable Tourism Destination

The meeting is part of the Sustainable Tourism Destination Cultivation and Market Ready Program managed and implemented by La Mano del Mono in the Selva Lacandona in southeastern Mexico, as part of the project Protecting threatened habitats through nature-based tourism in the Lacandon Jungle in Chiapas, Mexico which was designed with the support of Chujum Lab and which has been financed by US Fish & Wildlife Service. The process consists of the co-creation of the Selva Lacandona region as a sustainable tourism destination given its rich landscape and biological wealth, its fascinating historical and cultural heritage and the presence of an extensive network of nature tourism companies.

Thanks to the model Market ReadyIn Gallo Giro, the ecotourism ventures offer unique and authentic experiences such as the Road to the Green Cause Fire in which we walk a night trail in the jungle in search of the origin of the fire of the community. On the other hand, in Gallo Giro we can enjoy a Camp of Stars and Water, where at night we will enjoy a very special starry sky and in the morning we will walk a "road" of water full of biodiversity and culture. We can also go in search of the Treasure of Las Brisas, the Aroma of the Jungle in Metzabok and even make A trip to the Mayan past in Nahá. Each of the experiences today are a gateway to the local culture and biodiversity of the Lacandon Jungle.

The Market Ready Bootcamp not only allowed for the commercial validation of the Ecotourism Centers, but was also an opportunity for participants to learn more about the cultural and natural richness of the Selva Lacandona region and the great opportunity, both in terms of business and impact, to promote nature tourism in the area.

Undoubtedly, this event represented a significant step on the road to consolidating the region as a sustainable and prosperous tourism destination. Although it is clear that there is still much to be done, it is undeniable that this is a crucial step in the right direction.

About Sustainable Enterprises in the Lacandon Jungle

Each tourism enterprise is an integral part of its community, living together with its inhabitants on a daily basis. These centers are organized in Cooperatives or Societies, and their partners are members of the same community. In many cases, these partners are also part of the staff of the centers, forming a team that is closely linked to the community.

Ecotourism ventures come in a variety of sizes and levels of organizational maturity. Some have extensive experience and solid, certified business structures, while others are at the beginning of a journey of continuous improvement and value generation. Despite these differences, all the ventures share an unwavering commitment to their community and the environment.

In the project "Cultivation of Sustainable Destinations and Market Ready in the Lacandon Jungle". worked with five ecotourism centers located in the Nahá, Metzabok and Las Nubes regions. These centers include Causas Verdes, Gallo Giro, Las Brisas and Nahá Ecolodge, as well as the Metzabok Guide Group in Metzabok.

Through the program, each center embarked on a journey to improve its offerings, identify opportunities and maintain a constant process of improvement. This path included self-evaluation Market ReadyThe program includes four modules to co-design and market experiential tourism products that generate positive impacts in their destination, the application of multiple work and study tools, seven personalized coaching sessions and the co-design of ecotourism experience prototypes.

Once this process is completed, we carry out the next step, Market Ready Bootcamp: commercially validating experiential products with strategic partners.

Market Ready Bootcamp: Validating Business Alliances with Ecotourism Centers

The objective of this meeting was clear: to validate and provide feedback on the work of the Ecotourism Centers, while at the same time seeking possible commercial alliances. But how is this achieved?

The process began long before the event, with the selection of Ecotourism Centers that have completed the Market Ready Cultivation, which prepares them to understand the value of commercial alliances and at the same time provided them with the tools to make a successful presentation.

On the other hand, commercial allies - tour operators and travel agencies - received information in advance about the community enterprises and their experiential tourism products so that they could choose who to meet with in the dynamic 15-20 minute meetings, where each Centro representative had the opportunity to validate, provide feedback and link with potential partners.

And the work did not end there; after the event, follow-up exercises were generated to detonate successful business relationships. This meeting of Ecotourism Centers not only validated and provided feedback on their work, but also fostered commercial alliances that benefited all those involved.

bootcamp market ready

The meeting held in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, had a positive and significant impact on local communities and the ecotourism value chain. It allowed them to receive feedback on their work, validate the attractiveness of their offer and discover new opportunities for improvement. On the other hand, for the commercial partners, the event gave them the opportunity to learn about high quality tourism products and services, which allowed them to expand their commercial portfolio.

In addition, from the perspective of the Market Ready Model, these meetings are a valuable opportunity to understand what aspects need to be improved and in which areas more attention should be paid. Likewise, the meeting is part of a broader process that began in 2022, which includes various stages such as diagnosis, training, strengthening, co-design and collaboration between the Ecotourism Centers of the Nahá, Metzabok and Las Nubes areas and the La Mano del Mono team.

La Mano Del Mono, aims to create alliances for the welfare of local communities and conservation of natural areas promoting sustainable tourism where partnerships are key to its success. Therefore, the Market Ready Bootcamp was another example of how working together can generate benefits for all involved.

We work to strengthen the capacities of local communities in the framework of nature tourism through the Market Ready model, which works for the well-being of nature destinations and their communities that give life and culture, raising the business potential and impact of adventure and experiential tourism companies to connect them with certainty to local and global markets.

Written by Carlos Aguilar - Lead Facilitator
Proofreading and Style - Viviana Vasquez - Communication Leader.

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