Workshop participants in Pucacaca visited the Ojos de Agua Forest, considered the last remaining Amazonian dry forest in the San Martín region.
A walk to discover the importance of the Amazonian dry forest; a tour of cocoa and coconut-based community small businesses; a visit to an indigenous community; a gastronomic tour to enjoy the area’s most representative dishes.
These are some examples of interpretive tourism products that were proposed during workshops held in October and November in two Amazonian communities located in northern Peru: Pucacaca (San Martín province) and Pucallpa (Ucayali province).
These workshops are part of the Circulando en la Amazonía (Circulating in the Amazon) European Union project, which promotes a circular and low-carbon economy model, based on sustainable biodiversity use and aimed at improving socioeconomic conditions in two Amazonian regions of Peru. They were facilitated by Jon Kohl of the PUP Consortium for Global Heritage (PUP) and Carlos Rosero of the Organization for Environmental Education and Protection (OpEPA), a PUP organizational member.The workshops, which took place both in person and virtually, convened local service providers associated with ecotourism, as well as representatives of indigenous ethnic groups, local government entities, environmental authorities, and educational institutions that have tourism programs. In total, more than 50 people from both locations participated.
“We seek to work together with communities that see ecotourism as an economic alternative to the activities they carry out on a daily basis, thus revitalizing traditional trades and arts -- whether culinary, agricultural or artisanal -- which can be of great interest for visitors, when well interpreted,” said Jon Kohl, executive director of PUP.
The Canvas model used in the workshops was specifically designed for community tourism ventures.
In the case of Pucacaca, workshop participants identified five potential ecotourism tours, with a focus on heritage interpretation, In Pucallpa, they outlined four ecotourism products focused on culture and production.
As Kohl explained, the Strategic Management Canvas tool was used to identify each product’s different components -- for example, its goals, services that would be provided to visitors, key partners, a financial analysis and price calculation, and immediate tasks that that must be undertaken.“It also allows you to do a small cost vs. benefit analysis, name the heritage elements to be interpreted and choose the theme or message that they want to develop with visitors, without losing sight of potential positive and negative impacts on the community and territory,” he added.
As a result of these workshops, two products per region will be selected and designed, in order to develop their respective scripts.
Workshop participants in Pucallpa proposed four community tourism initiatives with the potential to be developed in the future.
Pucacaca ecotourism proposals
1. Cocos Island tour
2. Ojos de Agua Forest hike
3. Historical tour of the Huallaga valley
4. Combination of three representative sites (Ojos de Agua Forest, Cocos Island and the Salt Mines).
5. Tour of community businesses (cocoa, coconut and ecological coal).
Pucallpa ecotourism proposals
1. Visit to the Santa Clara indigenous community
2. Tour of different community businesses
3. Local food tasting tour
4. Cultural and historical tour of Pucallpa city.
The methodology called Facilitation of Local Tourism Enterprise Teams, used by PUP-OpEPA, was developed in Colombia at the beginning of this 2022 with local ventures and national operators. It includes a community interpretive framework, using the Ikigai method to determine the venture’s purpose, the Canvas tool, and an interpretive script to capture the story that will be presented to visitors.