San Joaquín in Ecuador is carrying out Ecomappings and workshops to fulfil its potential as a tourist destination.
The municipality of San Joaquín belongs to the province of Azuay in the canton of Cuenca in Ecuador and is characterized by its gastronomy with Andean roots and traditional dishes. These include Andean products such as potatoes, Andean vegetables and the use of domestic animals such as guinea pigs and chickens, as well as pigs that are traditionally prepared around a campfire and served in clay pots.
There are many local products and traditional chocolates made by family businesses. Organic products are also in great demand from local restaurants and North American immigrants. Gastronomy has played an important role in San Joaquín for about 50 years, and the biosphere reserve around the municipality has now also been developed gastronomically. There are 63 restaurants in total.
The certification process with TourCert began at the beginning of November and should be completed in May 2019. As a sustainable destination, San Joaquín aims to focus on gastronomy and culinary delights. To this end, a full-time employee was hired to create awareness for sustainable management and support the development of the measures.
35 interested partner companies have already been acquired, 6 of them will complete the process and can obtain the recognition TourCert Check. These include mainly restaurants, but also organic farms, accommodation, chocolate producers and an artisan. A total of four workshops were held. In a group of about 15 participants the initiative and the procedure of the TourCert process was explained.
Based on the project approach, the participants adopted a communication plan, which included the development of a video and the establishment of a brand to strengthen cooperation with the private sector. Online communication is used to report regularly on the progress of the process.
At the end of November, training courses were also held on topics such as customer service and food safety and processing. Ecomappings, so-called environmental inspections, were carried out from December 2018 until April 2019. Two local consultants were hired for this purpose. Further workshops on taxes were conducted in January. In March, two workshops were organized with employers who belong to restaurants and to the municipality. The main objective of the workshops was to increase the awareness related with sustainable practices and corporate social responsibility in the certification process.
Setting international standards has enormous potential for optimizing tourism in the region, and to promote sustainable tourism within Ecuador and in the travel destination.
Sustainable destination development is promoted by a partnership of the develoPPP.de programme via Sequa gGmbH as part of the project “Qualification in Ecuador“.