This proposal is a rehabilitation project which will ensure conservation of Suriname's natural, historical and cultural heritage through green economic development.
Far outside the Netherlands, but nevertheless of dominantly Dutch origin is the historic inner city of Paramaribo in South American Suriname. This UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 2002) is one of the most beautiful and well kept wooden cities in the world. However, its future sometimes seems unsure: some buildings are neglected, a few of them burned down and remaining as a ruin or are replaced by modern constructions.
Eighteenth century Paramaribo functioned as a bridgehead between local plantations and the Netherlands. An Atlantic nodal point, forming the center of a star shaped network connecting North America, the insular Caribbean, the Guianas, West-Africa and Europe.It is with proud sentiment that Surinamese and Dutch alike reminisce that the Republic of Suriname came into existence by it waterways. This national sense of pride for our waterfront in Paramaribo as well as others of our well know coastal areas, stir an instant protective instinct, a commonly shared sense within most in our community to preserve the history and culture portrayed by the unique wooden architecture.
The idea is to develop and implement a Tourism Master Plan for the Historical Coastal Areas and buffer zones of the greater Paramaribo area. The fact that tourism development in Suriname is still in its infancy stage provides the great advantage that we still have most of our natural, cultural and historical resources intact. There are not many large or obtrusive constructions works, there is still enough room to build and expand, and we now live in an age where there are many innovative and green construction technologies to choose from when implementing new strategies. We have the unique opportunity in Suriname to not just use the term geotourism as another buzz-word for promotion of travel to the country. The Master plan will give government and authorities a management- tool which ensures that future developments in our tourism industry sustains or enhances the geographical character of Historical Paramaribo; Suriname’s environment, heritage, aesthetics, culture and the well-being of its residents will be protected through innovative strategies in sustainable(geo-) tourism development.
The aim of this project is to sustainably revitalize the Suriname shoreline and main waterways, taking with that the Paramaribo waterfront, the inner-city and its buffer zones, and all other coastal landmarks as the initial points of development. The expected ripple effect is environmentally sensitive economic development and growth in various industries; with the spin-off bringing green economic development, not only in tourism, but also in agriculture, water management and export, renewable energy and even the national oil industry.
This plan also considers building a cruise terminal in Paramaribo at the Suriname River, befitting of the waterfronts’ historical character in architecture, with shore facilities. Rehabilitating the Paramaribo waterfront and enhancing its functionality to once again become the Atlantic nodal point that it was in days of old, will give local entrepreneurs in different sectors access to entirely new markets; sailboats from all over the world as well as larger passenger vessels will be making use of the docking facilities. Joint destination marketing will enable the Surinamese tourism sector to derive income off of the existing multi-billion dollar North-American and Caribbean (cruise-) tourism market. Taking into account the carrying capacity of selected tourism zones, in order to ensure that all our natural and historical treasures remain intact, will be key.
Our heritage buildings, districts and landscapes create a unique sense of place and a rooted sense of local identity. Heritage conservation fueled by income from Sustainable Tourism Development (Geo-Tourism) , is a wise investment for Suriname, especially for the historic inner-city and its wider surroundings, of which some parts have been listed as UNESCO world heritage sites. Availability of funding, environmentally sound industry standards, public transportation regulation, zoning plans and a strong tourism and inner city management authority are a crucial key elements that are instrumental to the success of this proposed development.
In the past many of our architectural highlights and historical landmarks were lost. This plan focuses on rehabilitation and development of the entire area along the Suriname River, including the historical inner-city, for the sake of conserving Paramaribo’s remaining irreplaceable heritage resources, including our heritage landscapes and buildings and buried archaeological sites.