Guatemala Photo Slideshow


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Guatemala Photo Slideshow

  1. 1. Guatemala<br />April 2011<br />
  2. 2. After Guatemala's 36-year civil war ended in 1996, the country needed to rebuild the economy. In the northern province of Alta Verapaz, however, the indigenous populations lacked both education and money to create sustainable livelihoods. They were among the poorest communities in the country. <br />© Counterpart International.<br />
  3. 3. Situated on the edge of the lush Candelaria National Park, the village of CandelariaCamposanto could not set up an agribusiness since it would encroach on the reserve. The community learned to use the national park and its network of spectacular caves as resource, and develop it into an eco-tourism attraction.<br />© Counterpart International.<br />
  4. 4. Today, almost 10 years later, the small village of CandelariaCamposanto boasts more than 2,800 tourists annually from Guatemala, the United States, France, Italy, Israel and elsewhere. The cave tours are featured in newspapers, magazines, books and on websites. <br />© Counterpart International.<br />
  5. 5. Residents worked to mark trails and organize tours. They received training, were provided with professional marketing materials and connected with tour operators. They have used the revenue to build a small store along the main road that caters to travelers, an eco-lodge, public restrooms and a community center that is rented for special occasions. <br />© Counterpart International.<br />
  6. 6. “Before, the people who could not earn money here went to [the province of] Petén or other places,” says Santiago Chub Ical, a community leader in Candelaria. “But now the people don't leave. They can make a living here.”<br />© Counterpart International<br />
  7. 7. In the nearby village of Sepalau, the president of the Community Tourism Association (AGRETUCHI) says the eco-tourism business employs 55 residents—about a quarter of the village. Others pitch in as volunteers when there is more work to be done. <br /> <br />In addition to generating sustainable jobs, the tourism activities have improved the quality of life for the inhabitants.<br />© Counterpart International.<br />
  8. 8.  In Sepalau, the community was offering boating and swimming on a chain of small lakes that are turquoise colored because of the limestone, but they wanted to offer other attractions that would appeal to a wider eco-tourism audience.<br />© Counterpart International<br />
  9. 9. The community opted for adventure tourism – installing a zip-line canopy tour that would extend over one of the lakes. After obtaining a sturdy cable from an oil company working in the region, the community was able to install the zip-line. The Mayor of Chisec – Artemio Lima Pop – even took the first ride. <br />© Counterpart International.<br />
  10. 10. “I think we’ve been educating ourselves and are focusing Chisec towards tourism,” says Mayor Artemio Lima Pop. “We’re trying to show [the villages] how to see and sell new aspects of their communities.”<br />© Counterpart International.<br />
  11. 11. “Tourism is a means of income for us,” says Marcos Xe, president of AGRETUCHI. “Here in Sepalau, we are using the income we get from these activities to construct things in the community. We are using it to pay for light, electricity, to buy roofing. We use it to fund the community school,” as well as purchasing wood to build another one.<br />© Counterpart International.<br />
  12. 12. The La Maquina village outside the Yaxhá-Nakum-Naranjo National Park had been marginalized for years. There were few jobs for men, and even fewer for women.<br />The community saw tourists visiting the national park—which has Mayan ruins, exotic wildlife and jungles—as a perfect opportunity to generate much-needed income for families in the village.<br />© Counterpart International.<br />
  13. 13. Last year, more than 325 people were trained to be tour guides, waiters, chefs and other professionals in La Maquina. Here, a group practices how to act toward tourists in their restaurants – helping guests order and learning how to deal with unruly patrons. <br />© Counterpart International.<br />
  14. 14. In Yaxhá–Nakum-Naranjo National Park, Counterpart teams with a local vocational institute to train community tour guides. For many who have never held a job, these courses have allowed them to improve themselves and seek employment.<br />© Counterpart International.<br />
  15. 15. In both Yaxhá-Nakum-Naranjo and Candelaria National Parks, showcasing natural and man-made attractions to domestic and international tourists are combined with conservation.<br />© Counterpart International.<br />
  16. 16. “We always say that if a woman is selling a certain animal as food, there will be a one-time benefit from that animal. If the woman is supporting the [tour] guides, then that animal benefits the park 40 to 50 times over by attracting people. This is how things are working at the community level. This is how we are trying to reduce the impact on the environment,” says Manuela Vargas, a local leader in La Máquina.<br />© Counterpart International.<br />
  17. 17. “When we are talking about defending natural resources, we are saying that everyone has a part to play in that,” says Sabastian Tut Caal, Counterpart Community Tourism Technician in Chisec. “Because of community-run tourism, they are not cutting down trees or hunting animals.”<br />© Counterpart International.<br />
  18. 18. “This is what I’m most proud of, instilling to the people that if you look after it and protect it, you can benefit from it,” says Tut Caal.<br />© Counterpart International.<br />
  19. 19. “Why are we doing this?” asks Sepalau’s Marcos Xe. “It is not only for us old folk. It is for the children that are growing up. They will be here after us. It is a beautiful asset for their future.”<br />© Counterpart International.<br />