Sustainable Community Development Through Ecotourism in Guatemala
Erin Ntalo, Master of Development Practice
Franklin Zumba-Deleg, Master of Development Practice
Amal Warsame, Master of Development Practice
Mohamed Ibrahim, Master of Development Practice

The Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park, is located in the north of Guatemala in the Petén department, within the Maya Biosphere Reserve. It is an important natural and archaeological site, framed by the characteristic tropical forests of the region. The park is managed jointly under a unique model of co-management for a protected area in Guatemala: under Legislative Decree 55-2003, the park must provide economic opportunities to the surrounding communities through the provision of goods and services to tourists.

Today, the park’s twelve neighboring communities are organized into seven associations under the umbrella of the Association of Organizations of the Yaxha Region (ASODESTY). Their enterprises cover a wide range of activities: tour guides, dining, aquatic and terrestrial transport, and handicrafts. ASODESTY is ready to launch their tourism services in the park and start attracting visitors as soon as they get the requisite concession permits from the government.

This capstone project offers technical support to ASODESTY, assisting in making final preparations to launch thriving ecotourism enterprises. The ultimate goal of this project is to support natural resource conservation and help improve rural livelihoods in northern Guatemala.

3:15pm – 4:15pm, Stassen Room (170 through HHH center)

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