Programa de Turismo Sustentable de Carmelo (PTSC)

Programa de Turismo Sustentable de Carmelo (PTSC)

Organization type: 
for profit
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The coastal city of Carmelo, Uruguay, has suffered from an influx in tourism in recent years resulting in exhausted city services and environmental degradation.
With the expertise of Three Squares International Inc., the Programa de Turismo Sustentable de Carmelo (PTSC) will implement standards for beaches, hotels, transportation providers, and build out the infrastructure needed to maintain the city of Carmelo. The goal is for the PTSC to serve as an example to the rest of the country and region on how to grow economically without negative environmental impacts. The initiatives brought about by the PTSC will be systematically used for easy implementation into other coastal communities.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Problems to be addressed through this program include: A. Preservation – The beach and surrounding town has been overrun by waste, littering and other ills from the increase in tourism. B. Waste - Carmelo has been struggling to keep up with the increase in waste generated by the 50% increase in tourism. The citizens are now using ad-hoc landfills to get rid of their waste. C. Pollution - Increased traffic from tourists has driven pollution and noise to an unmanageable level. The massive development of the Port of Nueva Palmira has put an enormous fleet of trucks on the roads making roads less biker friendly with no bicycle lanes in place. D. Social Infrastructure - The community suffers from a lack of year-round employment and social programs promoting the preservation of the local landscape.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The PTSC will bring cutting edge green technologies and environmental training to the city of Carmelo to address the current challenges the city is facing in handling the increase of waste, peak energy usage, stressed transportation systems and beach decay due to the influx of tourism. These unique solutions stem from a combination of an in depth understanding of Carmelo’s landscape and Three Squares International’s breadth of project management experience as it relates to reducing the environmental impact of human activities. The foundation of the PTSC will be the following key programmatic areas: 1) Social - Outreach and Education During the implementation phase, the PTSC will encourage residents, hotels and businesses to become members of PTSC and promote sustainability certification for strategic conservation and business development efforts. 2) Environmental - Clean Technology From recycling and composting technologies to alternative fueled vehicles, the PTSC will employ a variety of solutions to reduce the environmental impact from increased tourism. 3) Economic – Green Business and Jobs Even though different organizations are in place such as GEO Carmelo to promote and research sustainable living, no projects have been carried through to provide this coastal town with the initiatives it needs to develop sustainably. The Sustainable Tourism Certification Network of the Americas (STCNA) has no certification programs in Uruguay nor Argentina at this time to service their tourism industry. TSI would aim to become a member of this organization and service its community with the resources it needs.
About You
Three Squares International Inc
Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name



Three Squares International Inc

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

Three Squares International Inc

Organization Phone


Organization Address

1507 7th Street #105, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Organization Country
Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, CO

Would you like to participate in the MIF Opportunity 2010?


Do you have a patent for this idea?

What impact have you had on your clients and the tourism sector?

TSI has extensive experience developing sustainability strategies for a range of locales – including cities, hotels and resorts and university campuses. In all of these cases, the strategies involve engaging local stakeholders (residents, business owners and government representatives) in order to create the buy in necessary to create long-lasting change.
Successful Case Studies:
Denver, CO - For the city of Denver, Colorado, TSI implemented a sustainability strategy to prepare the city for 100,000 attendees visiting during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The plan included installations of on-site renewable energy (solar), developing a complete compost and recycling waste diversion plan, converting bus transportation to operate on a mix of hybrid and biofuel vehicles, and community education projects (volunteer training, tree planting days and service projects).
Gili Eco Villas - For the hotel property located on a small island off of Bali, Indonesia, TSI implemented a sustainability strategy for the property which included rainwater capture, bioseptic tanks, solar and wind installations, bamboo building materials, high-efficiency lighting systems, and community projects to protect the local coral reefs from cyanide fishing (outreach program to local fisherman).
Coastal Cleanup Day – From 1998 – 2005, TSI’s founder directed the largest beach cleanup in the U.S. attracting 2,500 volunteers to the beaches of Santa Monica, CA.
Clean Transportation Projects – TSI has worked with clean vehicle manufacturers to develop demonstration projects to illustrate the benefits of natural gas, electric, hybrid, propane and biofuel vehicles. Clients include Honda, Toyota, GM, Mitsubishi, Chevrolet, BMW, Quantya, and Audi. We have also worked on projects to reduce the emissions from port-related activities and implemented projects to replace traditional ships, trucks, trains, and off-road equipment with alternative fueled versions.


A. Preservation – TSI will develop eco tourism practices for hotels, businesses and the beach areas. The practices will consider the existing infrastructure weaknesses.
B. Waste – TSI will implement a pilot program to collect recycling and composting to minimize the amount of waste sent to landfill.
C. Pollution - TSI would work with alternative fuel vehicle manufacturers to create a clean vehicle program to include conversion of taxis, car rental options and a clean air shuttle program to carry visitors from the ferry terminal to the hotel zone.
D. Social Infrastructure – The program will lead to the creation of various ancillary businesses which will require training and hiring of local staff. The businesses will include a recycling center, compost facility, electric motorcycle rental company and PTSC program office.


A. Preservation – The program will educate local businesses, hotels and service providers in eco tourism practices. These new practices will have a direct impact on pollution control, waste and energy usage reduction.
B. Waste – The pilot waste diversion program would aim to reach a 60% diversion rate in the first year. The city-wide recycling program would be implemented 6 months later to reach all residents.
C. Pollution – The clean vehicle program will aim to have at least 10 alternative fueled vehicles in operation by year two. The plan will also involve the creation of bike lanes and a system for traffic control.
D. Social Infrastructure – The creation of new green businesses will lead to job growth and lower rates of unemployment during the off-peak season.
E. Measurement - After a year in place, we will benchmark hotels and business in the pilot program to other hotels in Montevideo and surrounding towns to compare the benefits and savings from the Carmelo Sustainable Tourism Program.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

- Administrative - Site location for program office within existing city office building. Recruit and train local program support staff.
- Begin preparations and develop waste diversion pilot program with city public works staff. This will include the training and development of employees (creation of 5-10 green jobs in 3rd quarter of 2011).
-Bring in residents, hotels and businesses to become members of PTSC and promote sustainability certification for strategic conservation and business development.
-Organize introductory site visit with alternative fuel vehicle manufacturers to Carmelo to prepare for first fleet of vehicles for the city.
- Launch Electric Scooter Rentals Pilot Program and tourist shuttle.
-Start certifying businesses on the Carmelo Sustainable Tourism Program and encourage them to pursue voluntary certification while provide marketing support.
- Establish relationships with neighboring coastal cities to build regional network of sustainable cities.
- Engage the largest hotels in the pilot waste diversion program, evaluate results, and eventually roll out to include the residential and commercial program. A waste-to-energy technology demonstration will also be implemented at the largest hotel.
- Spread Electric Scooter Rentals Program and sales city-wide with incentives from city.
- Host Forum on Sustainable Cities from Mercosur in Carmelo.
- Spread Recycling Program and Natural Beach practices to sister cities within regional network.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

The program requires the cooperation and support form local nonprofits, hotels and the city government. Fortunately, the project director (Delfina Zagarzazu) is considered a “local” due to her family’s history of building the city’s foundation. The project is being developed with the local community with the goal of strengthening community spirit around environmental sustainability.
The program has been incubated and initial funding provided by Three Squares International Inc. However, in order for the program to succeed additional investment is critical. The funding from this grant application will be of key importance and will also provide the support to bring vehicle manufacturers and technology providers to the region.

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$100 ‐ 1000

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy or introduce models and tools that benefit the tourism sector in general?


What stage is your project in?

Idea phase

In what country?

, CO

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

Lienk S.A.

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

TSI has provided pro bono support to various organizations, government agencies and universities to assist in rolling out sustainability initiatives.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

The three most important actions are:
-A high participation by residents and businesses in the recycling and compost program. Positive results will reflect on the clean streets of the city and the empty landfills. A successful first year will allow for a higher diversion rate in the second year and the expansion of the program into other cities and neighborhoods.
-Speedy immersion of electric vehicle fleet into the roads of the city. An effective marketing campaign to tourists for the rental and clean usage of these will help grow this sector and bring popularity to the organization for its initiatives.
-Support from local and state government along with strong alliances and partnerships with organizations will help foster an understanding for the communities needs and the development concerts for the near future. A large network of participants in this sector will facilitate new projects and help gather support from future alliances.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

The last 150 acres of coastal land in Carmelo on the Rio Uruguay went up for commercial sale in 2010. This beachfront property currently houses the artisanal fishermen who welcome tourists into the city when they arrive by ferry from Argentina.

Delfina Zagarzazu, granddaughter of the founding father of Carmelo, studied abroad in the U.S. to pursue training in sustainable development with the intention of eventually returning to her hometown. After joining the environmental consulting firm Three Squares International Inc., Zagarzazu realized the potential of immediately impacting the community of Carmelo and developed the concept for a sustainable tourism program. After months of research and partnership development, the program is ready to launch.
With the support of TSI and endorsement of clean technology providers in Latin America and the U.S., Zagarzazu is uniquely positioned to bring positive change to the coastal city of Carmelo.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

When entering Carmelo through its manually rotating red swing bridge, they say anyone who crosses it will always come back. Since the 1950s, the entrepreneurial pioneer Isidro Zagarzazu began preparing his town of Carmelo for what he envisioned would be a get away destination for Uruguayan and Argentine families whom seeked a peaceful place to enjoy the Rio de la Plata. His town was behind him in his vision and prepared itself to welcome visitors to its shores. This put Isidro on a long journey to create an experience for visitors who now continue to return to the beautiful coastal town of Carmelo year after year and some even calling it their second home. His vision drove him to build and later donate to the State what is now the International Airport of Carmelo named “Aeropuerto Internacional Zagarzazu”.

The arrival of the Four Seasons Resort in 1999 was the confirmation that the transformation of a small town was well on its way to become an international tourist destination. The residents have not changed their lifestyles much since then and have an easy time not changing their ways as their shores are every day more populated. Locals from Carmelo as well as international developers to this day give homage to Isidro for being the social innovator behind the growth of this small agricultural town that has flourished over the years into the tourist destination it is today.
Isidro who suffered a sudden death at the age of 45, was not able to see his vision come to life. Today, Isidro’s granddaughter Delfina Zagarzazu is spearheading an aggressive project to keep her grandfather’s vision alive to welcome tourism to the city and share all its wealth, but doing so in an innovative and sustainable manner that will allow Carmelo and its residents to conserve the beaches, fishing lifestyle and the simple lives they have been leading since 1816. In 2007 the residents paid tribute to his dreams by placing an outdoor plaque with a smiling image of young Isidro at the entrance of what is today the only Natural Beach in Carmelo located at the Balneario Zagarzazu.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Newsletter from Changemakers

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

50 words or fewer

MIF Opportunity 2010
Has your organization been legally constituted or registered in your country or one of your target countries for at least three years?


Does the applicant organization have sufficient financial resources to guarantee the co-financing required by MIF during the execution period of the project? (This amounts to at least 50% of the project’s total budget with 25% in cash and 25% in-kind.)


Does the applicant organization have experience managing projects co-financed by international organizations? Please describe below

Yes, we have worked on a variety of projects involving multi-national corporations and international organizations.

Please classify the applicant organization according to the options below

Enterprise/Profit corporation

What problem-area does your project address?

Access to knowledge and training, Access to markets.

How will your project address this problem?

Access to Knowledge
– The project will educate local businesses, hotels and service providers in eco tourism practices. These new practices will have a direct impact on pollution control, waste and energy usage reduction.
-A waste-to-energy technology demonstration will also be implemented at the largest hotel to inform residents on available products to substitute existing vehicles and/or incorporate to their businesses.

Access to Training
-TSI/PTSC will implement a pilot program to collect recycling and composting. The program will lead to the creation of various ancillary businesses which will require training and hiring of local staff.
- After a year of PTSC in place, we will benchmark hotels and business in the pilot program to other hotels in surrounding towns to encourage to spread the program and train other cities on the success of Carmelo's case study and initiatives.

Access to Markets
-TSI/PTSC would work with alternative fuel vehicle manufacturers to create a clean vehicle program to that will create a new market for these vehicles.
– The creation of new green businesses (recycling center, compost facility, electric motorcycle rental company and PTSC program office) will lead to job growth in this market and lower rates of unemployment during the off-peak season.

Who is benefited by the initiative? (Please highlight the type and number of beneficiaries, and their role in the tourism value-chain.)

Beneficiaries: 20,000
Role: Purchasing clean technology vehicles, cooperating in waste management practices and participation in community social programs

Beneficiaries: 3,000
Role: Become trained and talented at the new opportunities in the city which will include eco-tourism, fueling stations, electric vehicle rentals, recycling facilities, and training of other residents on the new practices.

Beneficiaries: 100,000
Role: Increased drive to visit the eco-friendly city and become one more individual caring for Carmelo and its natural habitat

Beneficiaries: 5,000
Role: Implement the new sustainable practices in all realms of the industry to include ferry companies, bus companies, hotel chains, restaurants, shops, etc

How will the project's results assist the region’s tourism sector and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises?

1) Regions Tourism
–Carmelo will become a sustainable city after its inclusion of clean technology, waste management practices and community participation in social programs. The rippling effects of this will inevitably be spread to the region’s nearby cities looking to not be left behind. The plan is to include the government of Uruguay in the process so that they can track project progress and incorporate the new eco tourism locale of Carmelo as one of its proud accomplishments.
-The increased attention and focus on Carmelo will no doubt drive increased tourism and visits from those who are environmentally-minded (a new group of tourists which will also want to care for the city and its natural habitat).

2) Enterprises
-The plan for alternative fuel vehicle deployment in Carmelo will yield employment and business opportunities for a wide variety of industries (auto repair specialized in these new vehicle and fuel types, fueling stations, electric vehicle rental outlets).
- The waste diversion system will also call for new businesses involved with recycling and selling those valuable materials and composting facilities to bag and sell compost to local landscapers.
-The certification of sustainable businesses including hotels and local businesses to encourage and train them on the sustainable practices of the city as of 2011 (organized and funded by PTSC)

A. Total Budget (100%)


B. MIF Contribution (up to 50% of total budget and US$. 500.000 max)


C. Cash co-financing (at least 25% of total budget)


D. In kind co-financing (at least 25% of total budget)