Las Galeras seeks certification as a sustainable destination with focus on biodiversity
The holiday region Las Galeras on the peninsula Samana is an almost undiscovered jewel: The fantastic beaches, the small fishing village, the breathtaking nature and Caribbean calmness are only known to a few. Here you are still far away from mass tourism – and that should remain this way.
The district council of Las Galeras, in cooperation with the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the ministries for the environment and tourism, the tourism companies and the local community, has begun a path to certification as the first sustainable destination in the world with a focus on biodiversity. The process is carried out by the international certification company TourCert.
“[…] We are aware of the importance and benefits, that sustainable tourism and the inclusion of biodiversity criteria can bring to the district, which is why we are trying to facilitate this certification process.”
Cecilio Garcia Javier, director of the Las Galeras district council
In September, TourCert carried out a feasibility study and a meeting with the local community to ensure the conditions for certification. Las Galeras has created a Sustainability Board from different business areas as a basic structure for the management, promotion and monitoring of certification-related activities.
The project started at the beginning of November with the training of local biodiversity consultants and an inventory of the most important products. An initial workshop was held with more than 40 people from the population, environmental organisations, ministries and tourism companies.
The partner companies of the destination are an important part of the 12-month process. 20 companies have already started to analyse their approach to sustainability and biodiversity using checklists. In particular, attractions in the hinterland should be more integrated in order not to concentrate all tourist activities on the beach. Nature reserves, mangrove forests, a “ginger route” and of course the local communities invite you to stay and enjoy.
The certification is a pilot process of GIZ and TourCert following an alliance between the two parties. With the technical support of the Global Nature Fund, biodiversity indicators will be integrated to award the TourCert label. This provides the tourism sector with instruments, which promote the protection and conservation of biodiversity with the participation of various stakeholders.