|Tourism against poverty|
|Objectives and results|
Pro Poor Tourism Strategies in Burkina Faso, Ecuador and Tanzania
The project is developed in three countries where ACRA has been working for many years. The strategy of this action is to open up new job opportunities related to tourism in order to reduce the poverty of the populations of the Burkina Faso, Ecuador and Zanzibar archipelago, in particular by offering vocational and environmental protection training.
In Zanzibar foreign investments are massive within the tourism sector but for the population is still difficult to access the benefits of tourism. In Burkina Faso, tourism is still marginal and is aimed at a range of niche tourism. In Ecuador, tourism is growing very slowly, is controlled by the government and is mainly a national tourism. These differences, along with some common features related to poverty, create the basis for a discussion on the economic, cultural and environmental impacts of tourism, which would not be possible without the involvement of civil society and the mutual learning among local authorities and non-state actors of the three countries that we encourage through the exchange of experiences. Different approaches of non-traditional tourism (eco-tourism, sustainable tourism, community tourism) shall be explored, starting from a specific analysis of the needs and the potential of institutional and non-institutional actors of each country. Participation in national and international debate about tourism experiences shall be properly addressed toward local practical experiences, which could contribute to poverty reduction. The strong growth of tourism in recent years requires, in particular, direct interventions on the issues of natural resource management, which are often put in danger by this pressure.
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Problems to solve
Zanzibar's economy depends heavily on international tourism. However, rural communities and young people are increasingly excluded from the benefits of tourism while they are affected by its negative impacts on local culture and the environment. In addition, tourism development is gradually reducing the population's access to natural resources creating problems of food insecurity. At the moment the local population lacks the skills to find employment in the tourism sector as well as to commit itself to entrepreneurial initiatives related to tourism. It is necessary to develop a greater environmental awareness through school courses and strengthening of community organizations involved in environmental management, in particular focusing on the problem of solid waste disposal.
The province of Tapoa, in Burkina Faso, is in the outer belt of the Transfrontier Park W. The project area is characterized by problems of environmental sustainability, natural resource management and conflicts between farmers and shepherds. The rural districts of Diapaga, Logobou and Tambaga are affected by intensive exploitation of the soil, which threatens natural resources and the food security of the population. The park and other naturalistic areas could mitigate these problems attracting tourists and at the same time generating alternative sources of income, which shall reduce pressure on natural resources. An important condition, however, is the classification of tourism activities within the local development plans that the municipalities are drafting in order to fight against poverty and to protect the environment.
In Ecuador, tourism began to develop in the 80s but only 1.4% of the population is currently involved in tourism activities. The sector is controlled by a small number of investors so local communities, particularly in rural and natural areas, remain excluded. Tourism often leads to conflicts among communities, government and investors about the use and ownership of lands. The area of Mitad del Mundo - the area of our project, - houses a park/museum, which is the most visited attraction in the country with about 700,000 visitors. Unfortunately visitors only stop within the day, neglecting the surrounding area. This is a poor agricultural area 30 km from Quito where the presence of unregulated quarries for building materials results in a significant environmental degradation. However, the area is also home to important archeological and natural sites as the Geobotanic Reserve of Pululahua, several buildings linked to the colonial history of the country and Inca sites.