This is discussion about Waponi: Incubating Geotourism Initiatives for Conservation.
Dear friends and Changmakers network,
We invite you to comment on our proposal.
We are pleased to announce that our initiatives have been recently awarded by:
Travel and Leisure: Best Life Changing Trip - http://bit.ly/cgfiA6
Latin Americam Travel Assocition: Best Innovation Organization in Latin America 2010
Virgin Holidays and Responsible Travel Awards: Highly Commended Accomodation for local communities - http://bit.ly/1Wgih5
Thanks in advance for your support!
I am always impressed by your work! The proposal has great merit. How do you see working with locals on the ground and with internationals on the Web? Are there ways that virtual volunteers in cyberspace can help raise the profile of local businesses? Are there ways to connect in the natural world?
Thank you very much for your words we apreciate planeta.com interested in new models of operations for ecotourism.
We have been developing this model for years now first of all Waponi is meant to provide solutions that will help local initiatives to connect with its clients, a great model are platforms that generate discussion like changemakers or planeta.com we intend to continue using both and of course developing our own to bridge the small enterprises with the market.
Luckly the virtual volunteers we have had for the past years have been our clients, a good example is the comments the Huaorani Ecolodge gets on trip advisor: http://www.tripadvisor.es/Hotel_Review-g294308-d1395229-Reviews-Huaorani...
I think with social media the options to spread the word and connect protected areas, indigenous reserves with the planet and this contest is a good example of entreprenours from all over the world promoting sustainable development!
This is the kind of initiative that can forge a connection between sustainably inclined grassroots businesses and the global marketplace. If--IF--the WAPONI approach is successful and replicable elsewhere in the world, cyberservices like Planeta and others can begin to systematically network in numerous local geotourism incubator groups, which in turn raises the local business's profile on Trip Advisor, et al. Get enough of this going on in various destinations, and it could even reach a critical mass sufficient to change the travel paradigm.
We are pleased to see your post. We would love to see Waponi working with the Center for Sustainable Destinations and partner in developing this succesful and replicable geotourism model. Thank you!
I hope you get the Waponi platform up and running. Many tourism ventures in the Peruvian Amazon need the series of services and know how you provide. Im sure that once it reaches a critical mass of a handful of on the ground products it is a platform than go regional in no time.
There is an oportunity to bring this solution to the region, thank for your interest and in advance for your support!
I am sure you will agree that community geotourism initiatives in Peru face the same challenges as the ones here in Ecuador. We are ready and willing to share Waponi with everyone interested in seeing geotourism used as a tool for conservation.
This kind of projects are vital for the survival of Community Based Tourism as it will help those communities really interested in working in tourism to insert themselves in the market.
In my experience in Peru Community Based Tourism only work while the NGO or cooperation that is working with the community is still there, once they leave usually the projects collapse. A Social Business like Waponi will empower people and enable them to insert in the market and apply quality policies by themselves, resulting therefore in a sustainable and empowering way to improve their local economies.
Al the best for this initiative, hope that you expand soon to Peru!! Cheers!
Thank you Maria Eugenia.
Your experiences in Peru will be key for Waponi's success and you are more than welcome to join us.
Now, I fully agree with you: Community Tourism and any kind of tourism needs to be treated as a business not only as a project. With Waponi we thought that a social business could bring to the table important elements to balance with the important ROI that each business needs to have but also the conservation of protected areas and strategic resources like water, involving local communities & indigenous groups, etc.
Please keep in touch so we can build this together…
All the best,
I am very impressed with Jascivan's personal and Tropic's institutional commitments to indigenous partners, as exemplified by the 15 year+ relationship between Jascivan and Tropic on the one hand and Moi and the Huaorani community of Quehueriono (Yasuni Biosphere Reserve and Huaorani indigenous territory, Ecuadorian Amazon), with the most visible product being the highly successful Huaorani ecolodge. However, this product rests upon an essential and solid foundation of support and trust built up through the years of personal and institutional accompaniment and collaboration on matters extending far beyond tourism alone. This foundation has facilitated relationships and work by other organizations such as WCS in the Huaroni territory. For example, working directly from Jascivan and Tropic's relationships, WCS began with a community mapping effort in Quehueriono in 2008, and since then have received requests from 6 additional Huaorani communities within the indigenous territory to map their communal areas.
I am also pleased to collaborate with Jascivan and Tropic on a second indigenous community tourism initiative, this one with the Secoya people (Cuyabeno Reserve and Secoya territory, Ecuadorian Amazon). Again the long-term personal and institutional commitment are the keys to ensuring success--the willingness to work at the pace of the local community, to take the time to understand their idiosyncrasies / culture / needs, and to develop projects and solutions together.
This is what Waponi is all about. This is how Waponi will bring significant positive change in the areas of livelihood benefits through community tourism, preservation of indigenous cultures, and conservation of nature. I am honored to support Waponi.
Dear Dr. Noss,
I am touched by your thoughtful comment, thank you! All these experiences that you described are real and what is more important are evolving and being recognized internationally.
Let me comment a bit on the key element you described: long term, trust and commitment - these are essential to build any Geotourism initiative.
That is why we defined as one of our goals to be the first social tourism business (long-term) in the region is therefore to give added value to these projects (trust), ensure their success (commitment), and consequently the protection of protected areas, water sources and local cultures (sustainability)
Thanks again for your support and opportunity and we are looking forward to start working with you.
Your project concept is wonderful Jascivan, hats off to you and the Waponi team. We can't wait to see it all unfold.
Votes for Waponi from all of us at www.solimarinternational.com !
Thank you all at Solimar International!
I hope we can continue developing the concept and including organizations like yours that can bring a global perspective and experiences.