SUSTAINABLE TOURISM SOLUTIONS Nuqui, Colombia

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1 SUSTAINABLE TOURISM SOLUTIONS Nuqui, Colombia CATALINA PARRA Pratt Institute PSPD Programs Urban Environmental Systems Management May 03, 2013

2 SUSTAINABLE TOURISM SOLUTIONS Nuqui, Colombia There are more than 1 billion people traveling around the world for tourism. In 2012 more than 160 million travelers visited the Americas and in average the world tourism rate percent has increased 4% 1. Colombia is an interesting case study for tourism; due to its internal conflicts it was classified as a dangerous country and tourism was not popular for decades. However that is changing and Colombia is becoming a main tourism focus. Is the country prepared for the social and environment changes that come along tourism? After more than 50 years of being known as an insecure country, the overview seems to be changing. Between 2002 and 2010 the government reinforced its fight against illegal armed groups and drug traffic, guiding the country to a peaceful future. In 2005 International campaigns as Colombia is Passion created by Proexport 2 a company based in promoting Tourism, Foreigner Investment and Exports, exposed the country to the world with a slogan saying: Colombia, the only risk is wanting to stay 3 changing people s perspective about the country and at the same time enticing them to go. The campaign worked, and from 2005 to 2012 there was an increase in tourism of 10%, nearly 3 times more than the world s average rate 4. In April 2013 Proexport launches its new advertisement campaign Colombia, Magical realism 5 based not in the country s violent background, but in the different, unique and surprising 6 characteristics of each of its regions. Colombia s geographical conditions give the country great environmental variety. It is consider to be one of the 17 Megadiverse countries, holding around 14% of the planet s Biodiversity 7 and hosts 2 of the 25 Environmental Hotspots around the world: Tropical Andes and Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena, with a high density of endemic species 8, making it even more interesting to visit. 1 United Nations 2 Proexport. 3 Colombia es Pasion. Proexport Tourism in Colombia. Proexport. 5 Colombia Magical Realism. 6 Colombia Magical Realism. 7 Convention on biological diversity. 8 Conservation International - Hot spots.

3 Inside the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena there s a region called El Chocó, located at the west of country with a population of around 470,000 people, integrated by Afro-Colombians, Indigenous and mestizos. 9 It has access to both Atlantic and Pacific Ocean and has border with Panama. Every year humpback whales come to Chocó to complete their reproductive cycle, sea turtles lay their lay their eggs in the long beaches bordering a wild rainforest full of creeks, falls and springs. Its environmental richness is complemented by cultural traditions that go back to Afro descendants brought by Spaniards and pre-columbian indigenous. 10 In the pacific coast there is a small town named Nuquí with more than 3,000 inhabitants 11 and it is the base of a community organization called Mano Cambida. 12 It all began in 1996 when Josefina Klinger the current director of the organization, began a campaign to strengthen and raise awareness of the touristic potential of the region among locals. The organization was established in 2006 and one of its goals is encouraging the community to offer tourism services for getting economical profit and social benefits. 13 Though its great environmental richness, El Chocó is one of the poorest regions in the country. Its inhabitants, especially youth are inclined to leave the region for something better while outsiders see the potential of the place buying the land and getting the profit, not leaving much left to the local community, as Josefina Klinger says. 14 Mano Cambiada Organization is focused on creating pride among locals and showing them how to appreciate their surroundings and take advantage of them. For 2013 Mano Cambiada have a new project in mind; a small hotel complemented by a training center for locals to learn about tourism services. The project s goal is to improve tourism services by involving the community in a learning process. The hotel will have a capacity for 30 visitors and will have a curriculum for training locals in the industry, enabling the community to take advantage of tourism activities. In a general context, Tourism is a leisure activity that allows visitors to enjoy new landscapes, cultures and specific characteristics of a region. It promotes urban development, creates jobs and strengthens the economy. However it also has negative impacts; the development of land for tourism facilities causes deforestation and depletion of ecosystems. An increase in 9 Choco, Colombia Choco, Colombia. Pg.7 11 Censo General DANE 12 Mano Cambiada Goals Mano Cambiada History Josefina Klinger. Mano Cambiada org. director

4 population means an increase in waste and local resources, it can also create over crowed places that deteriorate the destination tourists were planning to discover. 15 Being aware of the negative impacts tourism can have and focusing in a d in a developing country with not many tourists, we may ask ourselves: Is the Chocó ready for a sudden increase in tourism and is it possible to develop tourism services to benefit the community without environmental damage? This is when Mano Cambiada s project becomes a tool for developing a sustainable tourism system that benefits the community, the visitor and the environment at the same time. Mano Cambiada s purpose is to combine social goals with environmental conservation and to accomplish this objective, creating sustainable solutions in the building is the best choice. Creating a building that provides the sustainable solutions for day-to-day activities as water usage or waste disposal will provide the tools to the organization to teach and practice environmentally aware activities while creating a tourism business. According to the organization there are some systems in the community more vulnerable than others, and the main concern is based in water usage, solid waste, food security and ecology. Solutions need to be feasible for the organization and have the potential to be applied in any other project by any person to complete a sustainability cycle. This project not only apply sustainable solutions but creates a training opportunity for locals and visitors to become aware of current environmental threats in the region and how to ovoid them. WATER USAGE Beginning with water usage, Nuquí has not the best conditions for water provision or wastewater management. The aqueduct infrastructure provides water to 46% of the population and sewer system to only 13%. Other sources of water are rainwater used by 31% of people and springs or rivers used by 19%. 16 Chocó is one of the regions with more precipitation per year in the world getting between 200 in to 400 in yearly and it rains 264 days of the year. 17 This data leads us to think that proposing an affordable method for rainwater collection is a good opportunity for granting people access to clean water within the reach of anyone and constructed with local available materials as adobe bricks or wood. Due to non-existing Situación Ambiental, de Saneamiento Básico y de Agua Potable en el Litoral Pacífico Chocoano, Pg El Desarrollo De La Fruticultura Del Choco, Pg 11.

5 studies about water consumption in Nuquí we can base some approximate calculations knowing that the average water consumption per person in Bogota, Colombia s capital is about 20 gallons per day. 18 Constructing a water tank with the capacity to hold 100 ft 3 of water will storage the water needed for 5 people for a week. Rainwater Collection System *Photo: Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier Being conscious of lacks in water provisions and wastewater disposal another sustainable solution apply to this project. Something as frequently used as restrooms, use a great amount per water per day. An average toilet uses 6 Lt. of water per flush. A person flushes approximately 5 times per day, resulting in a consumption of 30 lt of water per day and 210 Lt per week. A good solution for water usage in restrooms is a Dry Toilet. They can be built on site with local materials, and with the appropriate maintenance and ventilation provides a safe, odor free solution using no water and creating waste that can be repurposed as compost. A community project in la Guajira at the North of Colombia is implementing this system with good results in the community. 19 It was promoted as a school project of the architecture faculty of Universidad Javeriana of Bogota and constructed by the community. 18 Water Use Bogota, Palomino Cultural,

6 Dry Toilet System * Palomino cultural. La Guajira, Colombia SOLID WASTE The second system is solid waste management. Currently there is no proper waste disposal facility in Nuquí. Solid waste is burned or buried near the beach where it pollutes the air, water and land. We can assume based on the amount of solid waste in El Chocó s capital, Quibdo; 73 Tons per day20, adjusting it to Nuquí s population the town produces 2 tons of garbage daily. Creating a recycling system that reduces the amount of solid waste and transform it into a building solution or an artistic icon and cultural, could be a good way to involve the community in cleaning their surroundings and becoming aware of the amount of waste produced daily municipios flotan en basura, Feb

7 *Sculptures made form plastic bottles in Rio, Brazil. UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) * Designer Garth Britzman of Lincoln, Nebraska. Canopy for a vehicle. *San Francisco, USA. Recycling Campaign FOOD SECURITY The third system is Food security. According to Mano Cambiada s director, traditional planting methods are being lost because of the rejection of youth in planting their own food for being mistakenly related to a poverty condition. Currently, only population between 40 to 70 years old, practice traditional methods for planting in roofs and backyards using bamboo as a container. Creating a planting program for older population to teach the youth how to grow local food will preserve the traditions and cultural values of growing. An interesting planting system is being used in Bogota, where plastic bottles are used as containers for herbs and vegetables, accommodating them in roofs or terraces to improve food access to low income population.21 This will accomplish the double purpose of recycling solid waste and growing food simultaneously. 21 Ecotechos Productivos. Forero, Carolina and Devia, Carlos Bogota, Colombia

8 The organization can promote the growth of local plants and make the local population aware of successful urban agriculture projects around the world, where growing food is seen as a privilege and can even generate extra profit for the quality of the food. ECOLOGY The last but most important system of the project is Ecology. This system comprises the relationship between each living organism and its environment.22 This solution should be based in gathering information from the region; its environmental structures and how they relate to its inhabitants. Information combined with education aloud locals and visitors to know the region and understand dependences among communities and natural resources. Main agricultural produces, jobs, community leaders, alimentation, plants and animals working as a whole will highlight the result of damaging certain resources as water depletion or deforestation. A great example is a regional info graphic system created by architecture students from Bogota in la Guajira, Colombia. They explain main systems in the region and relate them with other regions of the country like sea animals of the region, local community members, alimentation and biodiversity. 23 *Palomino Cultural. La Guajira, Colombia Palomino Cultural, 2012 Info Graphics.

9 Mano Cambiada must apply these sustainable solutions to the hotel building engaging the community to build them and learn from them. The curriculum of the training center should use the sustainable solutions to educate local population and visitors in the threats and vulnerabilities of the region and how feasible basic solutions can help to mitigate negative impacts from tourism. The building as a tourism facility will become a sustainable tool interacting with its habitants and educating them, allowing the community to take advantage of the industry preserving and teaching how to preserve the environment. Each system will be build with educational charts about the general facts and the sustainability improvements so that even after its construction people can learn why is it being used and the benefits it offers. The organization is currently planning in using an existing structure to build the hotel. It finds the above recommendations useful and applicable to the community. Josefina Klinger is passionate about her homeland and is willing to continue promoting her region as a tourist focus to benefit her own community and at the same time making them proud and aware of the richness they own.

10 BIBLIOGRAPHY Corporacion Mano Cambiada [last accessed April 2013] Governación del Chocó [last accessed April 2013] National Geograophic. Sustainable Tourism - Geotourism. [last accesed April 2013] Sustaining Tourism [last accessed April 2013] Proexport, Colombia. [last accessed April 2013] World Tourism Organization. [last accessed April 2013] Conservation International Hot Spots. [last accessed April 2013] Convention on biological diversity. [last accessed April 2013] Censo General DANE [last accessed March 2013] 4 Años para Salvar el Agua de Bogota [last accessed March 2013] Palomino Cultural [last accessed April 2013] 190 municipios flotan en basura, Feb [last accessed March 2013] Dry Toilets [last accessed March 2013] Alcaldia Municipal, Instituto de Investigaciones Ambientales del Pacifico. August Esquema de Ordenamiento Territorial Municipio de Nuquí Departamento del Chocó Alcaldia Municipal de Nuquí. April Plan de Desarrollo con Equidad Social Defensoria del pueblo. September Situacion Ambiental de Saneamiento Básico y de Agua Potable en el Litoral Pacifico Chocoano Ministerio de Agricultura y Desarrollo Local. November El Desarrollo de la Fruticultura del Chocó Pratt Institute - Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment Team. March 2010 Agonda Framework Report for Sustainable Development

11 Forero Cortes, Carolina with Devia Castillo, Carlos. Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Ecotechos Productivos Para Mejorar Condiciones De Seguridad Alimentaria Y Habitabilidad En Poblaciones Vulnerables Paul S. Mankiewicz, Pratt Institte, Gaia Instute. N,Y. USA (2013, April 12) Interview Josefina Klinger, Mano Cambiada Organization Chocó (2013, January 28 th / March 18 th / April 15 th ) Telephone Interview (January 29 th / February 2 nd / February 26 th / March 28 th ) Interview)

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