Bluefields 20/20 Challenge Campaign

Bluefields 20/20 Challenge Campaign

Bluefields, Jamaica
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

The Bluefields People's Community Association, in collaboration with Reliable Adventures Jamaica - a local tour operator, spearheads a coalition of civil society partners to launch the Bluefields 20/20 Campaign - a multi-year effort designed to promote community self reliance based on hospitality services. Bluefields Bay has been Jamaica's secret for over 40-years - we have a spectacular natural and historical heritage; world-class coastal habitats and an award-winning local tour operator - Reliable Adventures Jamaica. Over the next 3-years targeted interventions will conserve public and private lands & waterways, increase awareness of our ecological and historical significance, and ...

About You
Contact Information
Title

Mr.

First name

Terry

Last name

Williams

Your job title

Chairman

Name of your organization

Bluefields People's Community Association

Organization type

Organization Type

Annual budget/currency

USD 150,000

Mailing address

P.O. Box 190, Kingston 9

Telephone number

876-383-3929

Postal/Zip Code

KNGSTON 9

Country
Email address
Alternative email address
Your idea
This will be the address used to plot your entry on the map.
Street Address

P.O. Box 12

City

Bluefields

State/Province

Westmoreland

Postal/Zip Code
Country
Geotourism Challenge Addressed by Entrant

Quality of tourist experience and educational benefit to tourists , Quality of benefit to residents for the destination , Quality of tourism management by destination leadership , Quality of stewardship of the destination.

Organization size

Small (1 to 100 employees)

Indicate sector in which you principally work

Community Organization

Year innovation began

2008

Indicate sector in which you principally work

General destination stewardship/management.

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Innovation
What is the goal of your innovation? Please describe in one sentence the kind of impact, change, or reform your approach is intended to achieve.

Bluefields Bay communities are healthy, educated and economically stable through self-reliance and enhancement of their natural, cultural and historical resources.

Please write an overview of your project. Include how your approach supports or embodies geotourism or destination stewardship. This text will appear when people scroll over the icon for your entry on the map located on the competition homepage.

The Bluefields People's Community Association, in collaboration with Reliable Adventures Jamaica - a local tour operator, spearheads a coalition of civil society partners to launch the Bluefields 20/20 Campaign - a multi-year effort designed to promote community self reliance based on hospitality services. Bluefields Bay has been Jamaica's secret for over 40-years - we have a spectacular natural and historical heritage; world-class coastal habitats and an award-winning local tour operator - Reliable Adventures Jamaica. Over the next 3-years targeted interventions will conserve public and private lands & waterways, increase awareness of our ecological and historical significance, and promote community tourism. We engage stakeholders at all levels– especially local youth – through public education and joint-venture partnerships. This includes development of business plans and pilot projects aimed at demonstrating viable economic ventures that build and sustain the Bay area's economy. The BPCA will launch a special purpose investment agency -- the Bluefields Area Sustainable Industries Corporation (BASIC). The company’s purpose is to attract partners & investors to develop local attractions and hospitality enterprises. The Bluefields 20/20 Campaign will establish links between business opportunities and environmental stewardship and empower Bluefields Bay residents to create a sustainable community for themselves by 2020.

Explain in detail why your approach is innovative

The Bluefields 20/20 Campaign engages residents in a system of community exchange or Co-Production known as Time Banking™. The campaign will match the skills of recruited subject area experts with the energies & creativity of community members to develop a unique brand of community tourism. Our hospitality-driven form of Co-Production begins with the idea that as the community prepares itself to serve visitors it will also develop services for itself. Time Banking will ensure that anyone who wants to participate can find a way to contribute and be rewarded for their contributions.

We believe there are growing numbers of responsible travellers who want to see their tourism dollars put to good use. The community based hospitality ventures will provide visitors the opportunity to become a part of our Co-Production exchange.

Our community-owned investment agency will secure funding to continue developing and promoting local hospitality ventures. Visitors will frequent these locally managed ventures. Goods and services will be provided by local community members, farmers and fishers from the unspoiled land and seascapes. In this way links can be established between business opportunities and environmental stewardship, and a positive emphasis can be placed on community self reliance.

IDB/Fomin
Si perteneces a un pais de Latinoamerica y el Caribe tienes la oportunidad de presentar tu iniciativa para acceder a fondos para innovaciones en turismo sostenible del BID/FOMIN (para mayor informacion leer la seccion sobre la oportunidad BID/FOMIN en la pagina principal del Desafio).

Deseo postularme.

Si perteneces a un pais de Latinoamerica y el Caribe tienes la oportunidad de presentar tu iniciativa para acceder a fondos para innovaciones en turismo sostenible del BID/FOMIN (para mayor informacion leer la seccion sobre la oportunidad BID/FOMIN en la pagina principal del Desafio).

Consumidores (viajeros), Operadores de Turismo, Prestatarios de servicios turísticos, Prestatarios de servicios no turísticos (proveedores), Atractivos naturales y culturales.

Indica cuales de estas tematicas cubre tu innovacion (elige todas aquellas opciones que apliquen)

Cartografía, Planificación y Gestión de destinos, Innovación y diversificación en el desarrollo de productos turísticos, Profesionalización, buenas prácticas y certificación de servicios turísticos sostenibles, Estrategias y herramientas innovadoras para la promoción y puesta en mercado de destinos y productos en turismo sostenible y geoturismo..

Impact
Describe the degree of success you have had to date. How do you measure, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the impact on sustainability or enhancement of local culture, environment, heritage, or aesthetics? How has it transformed or contributed to the power of place or demonstrated the sustainability of tourism? How does your approach minimize negative impacts?

As alluded to earlier, the Bluefields 20/20 Campaign is an initiative that is being embarked upon to change the pattern of tourism in Jamaica. Experiences in nearby communities (i.e. Negril & Montego Bay) have shown that traditional tourism development often brings with it enormous socio-economic pressures for its host communities. Local residents often experience a sense of disenfranchisement and exclusion when tourism resorts out-compete them for beach access and other coastal resources. The promise of local jobs rarely ever compensating for their sense of loss. In fact local communities often lack the necessary skills to take up the best resort jobs on offer and many have to settle for low-paying seasonal jobs while the higher paying jobs go to people migrating from other areas.

The development that the BPCA has in mind is not business as usual. The organization is staking its future on developing a new and unique type of hospitality industry which targets Jamaicans! It believes that by creating a world-class Jamaican experience on the Bluefields Bay for Jamaicans, the discerning visitor from overseas seeking the authentic Jamaica will be attracted to Bluefields also.

In what ways are local residents actively involved in your work, including participation and community input? How has the community responded to or benefited from your approach?

Bay area residents are intimately involved in designing and implementing the Bluefields 20/20 Challenge. This initiative is being led by locally-grown business leaders like Wolde Kristos of Reliable Adventures. We have complemented the community’s inputs with experts from a number of national (Jamaica Tourist Board & TPDCo) and international partner organizations (Missouri State University & Heritage Design). The visitor opportunities/services inventory is a participatory exercise. It will produce a community tourism conceptual plan. We have also been assembling GIS data and mapping the Bay’s ecological & historical attributes. Our ultimate aim is to produce a National Geographic Geotourism MapGuide.

How does your program promote traveler enthusiasm, satisfaction, and engagement with the locale?

Existing community based hospitality service offerings like Reliable Adventures are all about providing visitors a truly unique experience. Products and services are designed and offered by our own community members to allow visitors a foray into what we consider to be our own culture, history and environment. We want visitors to feel welcomed and comfortable and to enjoy Bluefields Bay as a short-term community member. This project will enable BPCA and partners to extend our reach with visitors, share our vision for Jamaica with them, and enable them to contribute to our self-reliance by simply enjoying our hospitality.

Describe how your work helps travelers and local residents better understand the value of the area's cultural and natural heritage, and educates them on local environmental issues.

An Education and Pride Campaign – “Bluefields weh wi come from”—will be launched through local schools and community groups, emphasizing the Bluefields Bay ecology and history. As our residents become more aware of the extraordinary beauty that exists in their own backyards, they can more readily share this with visitors. A series of community heritage signage kiosks will be installed to showcase key areas within Bluefields Bay, enhancing our sense of place and increasing awareness of community members and visitors alike. Signage will include informational panels with maps, historical facts, and things of importance to our community today.

Sustainability
How is your initiative currently financed? If available, provide information on your finances and organization that could help others. Please list: Annual budget, annual revenue generated, size of part-time, full-time and volunteer staff.

The BPCA was founded in 1989 by a group of local residents and has now grown to incorporate a global social network of 'friends' - all dedicated to the Bluefields Bay & its people. Programs are overseen by a board of 7 directors, with active voluntary involvement of local organizations and community members. Grants and private donors are the main funding source for BPCA’s annual budget of approximately US $150,000. 20% of revenue is generated by the Cyber Centre from computer classes paid for by local schools and Internet users. Primary larger scale donors include: Bluefields Bay Villas, Canada/Jamaica Medical Assistance Society, Gunst Family Foundation, Jamaica Sustainable Development Programme, and Scientific Research Council.

Is your initiative financially and organizationally sustainable? If not, what is required to make it so? Is there a potential demand for your innovation?

The Bluefields People's Community Association is not yet financially sustainable – even though the organization has been around for 20 years. We have evolved our organizational structure to support education, social and environmental endeavours in our community. The launch of the Bluefields Area Sustainable Industries Corporation will provide the vehicle to secure the economic foundations of our work. External investments will be sought to finance the upgrading and marketing of our community based tourism products and services. Ultimately however it’s the investment in establishing the framework for Time Banking which will accelerate our aim of becoming a self-reliant community by 2020.

What are the main barriers you encounter in managing, implementing, or replicating your innovation? What barriers keep your program from having greater impact?

Securing investment financing for the Bluefields 20/20 Challenge is the main hurdle we currently face. The tightening world financial markets present a stiff challenge for any new venture. If we cannot secure adequate funding, our pilot projects will be more limited in scope and/or size.

Another challenge is overcoming the pervasive allure of traditional tourism development. Despite the current global financial crisis, small island economies like Jamaica continue to invest heavily in mega tourism infrastructure development as their main strategy of keeping their fragile economies afloat. Jamaica -- and in particular the south coast of the island – is being aggressively targeted for Spanish investment. We are already witnessing the negative impacts of this type of development in places like Negril and St. Ann’s Bay.

This is why the Campaign increasingly focuses on local business participation in providing quality local hospitality services; promoting compatible social enterprises, and; implementing an environmental conservation plan for Bluefields Bay. Jamaica is badly in need of another tourism model to create the conditions for a paradigm shift in the minds of our tourism planners and investors.

Finally any short-term gains caused by the Campaign can only be sustained if Bay area residents see real benefits.

What is your plan to expand or further develop your approach? Please indicate where/how you would like to grow or enhance your innovation, or have others do so.

Over the next three years we will build our community tourism demonstration project to test and refine our model for viable economic ventures that build and sustain the Bluefields Bay area. Once we have achieved proof of concept, the model will then serve as the basis for expanded development and investment in other targeted areas of our community. We hope the model will also be adapted and used by other nearby communities or rural communities elsewhere who are interested in long-term sustainable development alternatives that engage and involve local community members in taking ownership of their own resources and destiny.

The Story
What is the origin of your innovation? Tell the Changemakers and media communities what prompted you to start this initiative.

The BPCA has spent the past 20 years working with local residents and coordinating with development agencies to address our residents’ basic needs: education, health-care, and food security. We have come to the conclusion that if we are to become a truly economically and environmentally sustainable society, we must embrace a more holistic approach to community development. Our educated youth need jobs to keep them in the area, a healthy community is reliant on a healthy environment, and food security requires both environmental and economic drivers. We envision a society where everyone has equal access to basic services and jobs, and where we support one another in our economic endeavors. Building a more locally driven hospitality industry is one of the means to our end. Locally-owned companies like Reliable Adventures - who recently received the Jamaica Tourism Board’s Tourism Excellence Award - are taking ownership of the type of visitor experience being offered in our area.

The BPCA's newly adopted strategic direction has seen the organization focus more on its role as convener for the Bluefields Community Development Committee (a coalition of civil society partners established under the government's local government reform). We feel we are most effective in the role of enabling and supporting Bay Area social entrepreneurs and the work they are trying to achieve. The BPCA has spawned several civil society groups on the Bay over the years –several like Reliable Adventures Jamaica being run by BPCA members. Many of these groups are young and energetic but lack basic management capacities and support. Over the next 2-years the BPCA will transform its facilities in the village of Belmont into a Community Resource Centre to serve our Community Development Committee partners behind a vision of sustainable development for the Bluefields Bay.

The BPCA will formally launch the Bluefields 20/20 Challenge Campaign in December 2009. The Campaign’s initial goal is to increase public awareness of the ecological and historical significance of Bluefields while promoting compatible economic development based on nature-based, community owned and operated hospitality enterprises. The Bluefields 20/20 Challenge Campaign will motivate Bay Area residents to create a sustainable community by 2020.

The campaign structure relies heavily on social networks and positive actions to tackle the most pressing environmental, social and economic problems being experienced in Jamaica. One of the reasons such an intense campaign is being implemented is to draw the attention of Bluefields residents and visitors to the issues and opportunities impacting Bluefields Bay and to recruit as many people as possible behind a common set of objectives. The Bluefields 20/20 Challenge Campaign is also a fundraising mechanism that will solicit financial and in-kind support from around the world. The BPCA, working together with a network of local and overseas friends and associates, has set an initial target of raising US$1 million in cash contributions over the next 3-years. These contributions will finance the launch of an initial set of pilot projects demonstrating proof of concept for the ideas being promoted.

Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers' marketing material.

After ten years with The Nature Conservancy, Terry Williams recently returned to Bluefields where he’d previously spent 12 years developing the Bluefields Project into one of the most dynamic community development programs in the Caribbean. As director of The Nature Conservancy’s Southeast Caribbean Program, Terry Williams directed a diverse, multidisciplinary team of professionals that developed and implemented programs to conserve some of the Caribbean’s most important marine and terrestrial natural resources, in partnership with governments, nongovernmental organizations and local communities. Together with Wolde Kristos of Reliable Adventures, Terry is providing leadership and coordination for this initiative.

Describe some unique tourist experiences that your approach provides. Be specific; give illustrative examples.

Locally-grown tourism ventures like Reliable Adventures and The Villas on Bluefields Bay have given the community confidence that our brand of community based hospitality can succeed and provide excellent service. To quote Debbie Moncure, owner of the Villas on Bluefields Bay: “Our goal is to create an environment where our guests can truly experience the natural beauty of Jamaica & its people. By fostering an environment where our guests can be part of the community instead of being removed from it, we have seen them develop many meaningful friendships with local residents and this has brought them back to Bluefields again and again”.

That statement pretty much sums up the experience we want for visitors to Bluefields Bay. We want our visitors to feel welcomed and comfortable, and that can only be truly achieved if they feel like part of the Bluefields Bay community. In addition to experiencing becoming short-term community members, visitors will enjoy the stunning natural beauty, with its intact coastal habitats for shore birds; hiking & bird-watching in the verdant hills & valleys, and; tour the many sites of rich colonial & pre-Columbian history.

What types of partnerships or professional development would be most beneficial in spreading your innovation?

Strategic alliances will need to be forged between the BPCA and subject area experts to assess and develop business plans. Joint venture partnerships & business ventures – especially with Jamaican private sector companies – will need to be secured. Trading links and business joint ventures will have to be developed in agriculture, fisheries and tourism. New local entrepreneurs will greatly benefit from business planning and development, financial management, hospitality service training, capacity building and mentoring.