Red Latino American FITS 2006 (REDAM 2006)

Red Latino American FITS 2006 (REDAM 2006)

Latin American Network – FITS 2006 Sustainable Tourism

Latin American Network – FITS 2006 Sustainable Tourism

There was an initial attempt to create a continental network when over 50 people from community and solidarity oriented tourism organizations in Latin America met at the FITS – Fórum International de Tourism Solidaire in the Provençe and Marseille organized by the non-governmental organizations in France with the financial support of the French Government. Eventually a second FITS was necessary to get the Network going.

The FITS 2006 in Chiapas again supported by the French Government with the local hosts the Mexican Tourism Authorities and the Tourism Secretary of the state of Chiapas, extended the scope to include Fair Trade Organizations. This time 65 women and men representing 53 organizations from 15 countries got together and decided to create a network which joins tourism communities and organizations from the Americas and Caribbean (REDAM 2006).

The objective of the network, as Ignácio Pollini of Cooperativa Caribana in Venezuela points out, is to “Create a network to bring together communities and organizations to exchange and share their experiences.” Ignácio was chosen by the assembly which created the network to coordinate the first step and will be working together with 15 members who were chosen to act as liaison of their countries to work with Ignacio to build and strengthen the network.

“The temporary name of the network shows the gratitude of the group members to the organizers of FITS 2006, who made it possible for us to meet,” says René Schärer, representing Prainha do Canto Verde, the NGO Instituto Terramar and the network Turisol of Brazil. Without the initiative of Jean Marie Collombon and his staff and organizations like UNAT (Union Nationale des Associations de Turisme of France) it would not have been possible for so many people from the Americas to meet and exchange their experiences.

An important partner of the network turned out to be the network Redturs led by Carlos Maldonado, from OIT in Geneva. This network joins more then one hundred communities already and the website will become the temporary home for REDAM 2006. It will not only serve as a promotional and marketing instrument for community tourism destinations which are integrating the network, but will facilitate our communication through the bulletin which can be downloaded from the site.

We are lucky to count on the participation of Leyla Solana of Cooprena. Leyla has built a community tourism network in her native country of Costa Rica and with her vast experience she will contribute extensively to the success of our Network.

To create networks has become fashionable with the facility provided by Internet and virtual communications via e-mail. But to create a network of emerging community and solidarity tourism destinations is a big challenge.

In a brainstorming session on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Chiapas the members of the group defined some of the activities and strategies they plan to use to face this challenge:

  • Use virtual information to promote their destinations
  • Exchange know-how and experiences
  • Promote solidarity among network members
  • Lobby for recognition by national governments and international organizations
  • Build alternative development models
  • Build negotiation power
  • Promote access to local, regional and global markets
  • Defend the interests of communities and strengthen their cultural identity
  • Promote poverty reduction through local development
  • Work as partners in cooperation instead of competition to differentiate their product from mass tourism
  • Create synergies to reduce costs of promotion and marketing

To achieve this, the group aims to:

  • Consult with its members to create the basis for the network
  • Keep the doors open for new members
  • Consolidate the network
  • Take advantage of the partnership with Redturs
  • Negotiate with local governments to gain support for country networks
  • Look for support by international organizations
  • Contact with selected tour operators
  • Form partnerships with NGO´s in consumer markets
  • Study joint promotion and marketing tools
  • Take advantage of existing partner ships and create new ones
  • Meet somewhere in 2007 to launch the real network

We look forward to hear from the people around the world who believe in community and solidarity tourism as an instrument for better understanding among peoples and a tool for local development, poverty reduction and nature conservation and who are ready to support us in this
fascinating experience to unite communities and organizations in the Caribbean and the Americas.

Choose your contact below and let’s hear from you!
Ignácio Pollini
www.caribana.coop

Leyla Solana
www.turismoruralcr.com

René Schärer
www.terramar.org.br

List of Country Representatives:

Bolivia – Juan Carlos Pesoa
Brazil – René Schärer
Costa Rica – Leyla Solano
Dominican Republic – Bolívar Troncoso
Ecuador – Carlos Maldonado
France – Henri Rosenberg
Guatemala – Carlos Albillo
Haiti – David Tilus
Honduras – Toot Oosteen
Italy – Enrico Marletto
Mexico – Cristina García
Nicaragua – Harold Ramos
Peru – Daniel Mainas
Spain – Salvador Palomo
Venezuela – Ignacio Pollini