The aim is to establish participative processes with solid scientific information and political support in order to plan human activities in the ocean and to consolidate sustainable coastal tourism in selected geotourism destinations in Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia.
MarViva Foundation has developed strong relationships with communitarian groups in the four working areas proposed for this project: Nicoya and Osa (Costa Rica), Chiriquí (Panama) and Chocó (Colombia). Partnerships and agreements with companies, communitarian councils and local governments have been established in order to promote the spatial planning of the marine-coastal area. Socio economic diagnoses have been carried out as well as an inventory of companies and communitarian groups that offer tourist services in these destinations. Participative processes with state communities and agencies in Chiriquí and Chocó have been generated in order to plan the tourist and production activities in mangrove swamps. Eleven micro tourist companies in Chiriquí were supported thus strengthening their administrative capacity and developing a cluster which offers a wide range of tourist services. Ten tourist companies in Osa were strengthened thus managing to set up business and marketing strategies, and at present efforts are being made to develop a communitarian tourist companies cluster in the region. Seven community credit corporations haven been set up and supported which by means of community capital provide their members with soft loans aimed at promoting tourist initiatives. Five of them are already operational in Osa and there are two in Chiriquí. Over four hundred individuals are directly benefited by its development. Forty tourism operators have been trained on best practices for "Cetacean Watching". Support has been provided to two communitarian groups applying traditional fishing techniques in order to strengthen their production chains. On of these groups, formed by fifty five traditional fishermen in the Chocó Colombia is at present selling its products directly to restaurant thus achieving a 15 times higher profitability after having strengthened its value chain. Similar results have been achieved in Costa Rica, with a group of twenty eight traditional fishermen which sell their product directly to tourist cruises which visit the Gulf of Nicoya. In both cases we managed to focus the production chain on sustainable traditional fishing techniques, the product marked a difference, intermediaries have been eliminated, in this manner improving the value chain and developing partnerships with community groups and companies, which have strengthened a sustainable tourism in both areas.