Guatemalan and Mexican Enterprises Dependent on Nature Tourism Strengthen Their Resilience to the Impact of the COVID 19 Pandemic

karla rivera
Karla Rivera

Within the framework of the project "Resilience of communities that depend on nature tourism to the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic", implemented by GIZ-Mexico and financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the local livelihoods of 23 enterprises have been strengthened.

The crisis caused by the health emergency was taken as an opportunity to rethink local tourism development strategies and actions, in order to adapt to a post-pandemic tourism market and strengthen value chains for a responsible reactivation of the activity, so as to contribute to the well-being of people, the environment and communities.

In this context, La Mano del Mono joined the project from July 2021 to January 2023, to facilitate a diagnosis of Market Readiness and communication needs as a basis for developing the Sustainable Ventures and Market Ready Crops, through which a sense of community between community enterprises and managers was fostered, favoring connections between key actors within the value chain of the regions involved.

The implementation of the crops strengthened the specialized skills of 64 entrepreneurs belonging to 12 organizations in Guatemala (Petén), six in Oaxaca and five in Jalisco (Mexico), as well as 19 destination managers, with a female participation of 50%. The preparation was carried out through 97 sessions representing 147 hours of training.

The process involved 14 partner institutions and generated a community of practice through a virtual exchange of experiences. In addition, 90 commercial allies were contacted and two customer profiles were identified for each of the organizations. The program consisted of 13 technical, practical and specialized thematic blocks in which applied tools were provided according to the situation of each enterprise.

This made it possible to collaboratively design 48 innovative prototypes of tourism experiences that include sustainable practices, have photographic support, and have been validated by 24 commercial allies with whom four meetings were scheduled and arranged for each venture. A total of 92 commercial validation meetings were held, which made it possible to establish collaboration agreements and recommendations for improvement.

It should be noted that an impact measurement study was also developed and a story harvest was carried out to measure the perceptions and personal experiences of the members of the enterprises, partners and destination managers, in order to determine the impact of the strengthening program on local livelihoods.

Strengthening business, commercial, operational and sustainable practices capacities has raised awareness and empowered community tourism organization entrepreneurs, as well as strengthened intersectoral alliances and connected nature tourism experiences with markets aligned with sustainability. 

A reliable process has been generated that has strengthened the resilience of communities and destinations, and created a learning community connected to specialized markets to provide them with quality, safe and environmentally responsible experiences that can be replicated in future processes.

Collaboration of Karla Alejandra Rivera Del Aguila
Sustainable Tourism Development and Planning Consultant
Project Coordinator at the Hand of the Monkey