Tourism and Biodiversity as tools to develop Coiba National Park and its surroundings, Panama

Tourism and Biodiversity as tools to develop Coiba National Park and its surroundings, Panama

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Develop biodiversity monitoring tool and travel services to destinations, and planning of biodiversity conservation status and measurement of impacts (social, economic and environmental) of tourism, integrating the local community in implementing and generating an interactive tourism map, services and areas for biodiversity (turtles, birds, coral, cetaceans).

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Despite working in different strategic approaches for strengthening local and municipal capacity in tourism management and have knowledge on the status, distribution and threats to biodiversity of the area it has not been able to integrate the information so it can be used in tourism planning, establishing new destinations or tourism products, integration of communities through business training and organizational strengthening, and better integration potential benefits of supply and expertise of different market niches. The site has great potential for ecotourism development and although it is composed of the Coiba National Park and a large area of influence, which aims to protect biodiversity in coastal marine ecosystem of the park, no one has a dynamic tool to help reconcile consistently the tourism, impacts generated from the activity (social, economic and environmental) and conservation objectives of the park.

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

Create a tool that links biodiversity information of high scientific quality and tourism as a means for tourism planning and sustainable use of biodiversity as a tourist attraction of the site. We propose the use of applied technology (GIS, databases) and use of biodiversity monitoring information (reefs, sea turtles, cetaceans residents) of high scientific quality integrated to attractions information and tourist services to create an interactive map to contribute to tourism management, natural resource conservation and community participation in the benefits of management. While the tourism entreprenurs network is strengthened tourism entrepreneurs, Red Arturis RED and Municipal management is focused on tourism to generate more revenue to the community and thereby improve their quality of life. It works to improve the Coiba product as a destination, strengthening marketing and marketing processes and links to EU companies with the small and medium businesses linked to tourism.
About You
The Nature Conservancy
Visit website
Section 1: About You
First Name

Julio Alberto

Last Name



The Nature Conservancy


, VG

Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

The Nature Conservancy

Organization Phone

(507) 317 - 0299

Organization Address

0832-25555 World Trade Center

Organization Country

, VG

Your idea
Country your work focuses on

, VG

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?

At the organizational level ANCON has developed jointly with local communities, a series of projects to promote tourism micro-enterprises. This process has created Arturis Network consisting of more than 60 entrepreneurs in the area. It has developed strategic plans for Sustainable Tourism in Municipalities of Sona, Las Palmas, Montijo (Area of Influence of Coiba National Park) that let you prioritize and implement actions to strengthen municipal and local capacity and ensure their inclusion in the benefits of tourism services. TNC with its methodology of Design for Conservation has prepared the Plan of Conservation of the Western Pacific of Panama, which defines the site's conservation targets (ecosystems and species), threats and key strategic actions to ensure conservation and long term sustainable site development. In conjunction with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, TNC has carried out since 2004 the reef monitoring program in the Western Pacific of Panama with information of high scientific value and conservation management, management and use in activities such as tourism.


It proposes four major strategic objectives which derive in different strategic activities for sustainable development and conservation of the Coiba National Park and Area of Influence.
1. Strengthen local, municipal and institutional capacities for tourism development on the site.
2. Development tool that integrates biodiversity monitoring, tourism services and attractions to facilitate environmental management and tourism at the site.
3. Improve the income of local communities to develop sustainable tourism activities in the municipalities of Sona, Las Palmas, Montijo:
4. Develop and implement a marketing process and marketing of tourism products "Coiba - Gulf of Montijo and their buffer zones" and environmental education campaign on tourism and biodiversity values of the site.


Entre los resultados más importantes estarán:
- Fortalecimiento de capacidades locales, municipales e institucionales.
- Desarrollo de herramienta que integre resultados de monitoreo de biodiversidad, servicios turísticos y atractivos.
- Mapa interactivo con información de biodiversidad y turismo.
Among the most important are:
- Strengthening local, municipal and institutional capacities.
- Development of tools to integrate biodiversity monitoring results, tourist services and attractions.
- Interactive map with information on biodiversity and tourism.
- Plan, protocols and database for biodiversity monitoring.
- Analysis of supply and tourism demand on the site.
- Municipal Strategic Planning for Sustainable Tourism developed and implemented.
- Designed and marketed tourism product Coiba - Golfo de Montijo.

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

First Year: Red Arturis strengthened and entrepreneurs trained. Incorporate resident cetaceans and sea turtles to the monitoring program protocols are developed and community is trained. Platform designed for integration of information (attractions, tourism infrastructure, general information, biodiversity, impacts, etc.).
Second Year: Info is generated in time and is integrated through a platform for interactive map. Communication and dissemination of use of the tool is successful and monitor their use by different users (eg tourists, tour operators, service providers, government agencies and NGOs, among others). The database for the interactive map is fed and kept up to date.
Third Year: The government and municipal authorities using the tools and information for environmental management and tourism site. The database for the interactive map is fed and kept up to date

What would prevent your project from being a success?

The main obstacles that could prevent the successful development of this innovation are funding for the development of strategic objectives raised above, technical and scientific capacity to develop activities such as monitoring, risk and environmental conditions that retrace the implementation of project and the inclusion of government officials in the development process of the project and its contribution to important aspects of environmental management and tourism.

How many people will your project serve annually?


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?

Operating for 1‐5 years

In what country?

, VG

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

The Nature Conservancy y Asociación Nacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (En Consorcio)

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.

The alliance with the National Environmental Authority under the Convention on Biological Diversity is essential to promote management initiatives in protected areas of Panama as well as strengthening the effective management of protected area to help meet its obligations as a country in the CBD. Partnerships with the organized private sector, in this case APEDE represents an important forum for presenting and communicating results and advocate if required or necessary.

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

Design a platform for the integration of information (attractions, tourism infrastructure, general information, biodiversity, impacts, etc.).
Generate an interactive map that allows users and decision makers access to information on site´s biodiversity and tourism.
Communicate and train users on the use and development of the tool and its applicability for environmental management and tourism.

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

At a meeting of The Nature Conservancy and the National Association for the Conservation of Nature we saw the opportunity to share information about different processes that both organizations, who have been allies and have worked together for many years, were running in the National Park Coiba and its area of influence. At the meeting we nalalysed how to integrate information, results, efforts and actions that enable a greater impact on the conservation and sustainable development of the site and in the Geotourism Challenge 2010 we saw a chance to do so.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

Julio Alberto Rodriguez. I am Panamanian, born in Santiago de Veraguas in 1974. Bachelor of Tropical Biology with Emphasis on Natural Resources Management and holds an MSc in Protected Areas from universidad Complutense de Madrid. I have an experience of over 10 years working in conservation and sustainable development throughout Panama and now I work at The Nature Conservancy Protected Area specialist for the Region of Northern Tropical Andes and South Central (NASCA). Iconsider this type of opportunities very interesting because it provides an opportunity for innovative proposals that link conservation and sustainable community development as the proposal submitted last year that unfortunately did not go favored called Camino Real, La Ruta del Oro: Shaft Conservation and Sustainable Community Development Upper Chagres. In this proposal, again linking conservation of coastal marine areas and biodiversity monitoring of marine species with tourism at the heart of sustainable development on the site. This innovative platform will enable a dynamic tool for environmental management and tourism of the Coiba National Park and its area of influence.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Web Search (e.g., Google or Yahoo)

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

En la psasada edición presenté una propuesta para concursar en Geoturismo 2009 denominada Camino Real, La Ruta del Oro: Eje de C

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

Both The Nature Conservancy, the National Association for the Conservation of Nature have a vast experience over 50 years and 25 years respectively in the administration and implementation of projects funded by USAID, private foundations and private donors, UN agencies, etc.

Please classify the applicant organization according to the options below

What problem-area does your project address?

How will your project address this problem?

Develop a monitoring tool for biodiversity and tourism services as a basis for planning of destinations, determining the conservation status of biodiversity and the measurement of impacts (social, economic and environmental) as a basis for tourism management and environmental of the site

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

The beneficiaries are diverse and include local businesses as the 60 that make up the Red Arturis, tourists, locals, tourism agencies and operators, municipalities and the Environmental Authority. All will have tools to integrate and analyze Info for decision making, training, strengthening, improving living conditions, among others

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

Innovative tools are created whose use should help develop the sector and improve management of tourism, as well as the environment.

A. Total Budget (100%)


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

US$FOMIN would contribute with $ 600,000

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

US$ 300,000

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

US$ 300,000