- The ST-EP Initiative
The implementation of ST-EP projects started towards the end of 2005 with the training programme for local guides in the village of Ebogo in Cameroon. Since then, the portfolio of ST-EP projects has rapidly expanded, thanks to the generous contributions from the Government of the Republic of Korea to the ST-EP Foundation, and from the Netherlands Development Organisation SNV, the Italian Government and other ST-EP partners to UNWTO.
The total portfolio of ST-EP projects under implementation covers a wide range of activities. It includes projects at local level that focus on training of guides and local hotel employees, and on facilitating the involvement of the local people in tourism development around natural and cultural heritage sites; projects at district level focusing on establishing business linkages between poor producers and tourism enterprises in an area; projects at national level aiming to provide business and financial services to small, medium and community-based tourism enterprises; and projects at regional level focusing on the joint marketing of community based tourism initiatives.
UNWTO consults with the respective governments and participating development agencies which organizations (NTAs, other governmental bodies, NGOs etc.) will act as project coordinators for the ST-EP projects.To guide the implementation of the ST-EP projects, Project Steering Committees have also been established. The Steering Committees have formulated detailed work programmes and meet regularly to discuss the progress of the projects. UNWTO provides active support to the Project Steering Committees and participates in meetings whenever feasible.
UNWTO has further identified various development organisations with a presence in the field that provide technical and/or financial support to individual ST-EP projects, and often participate in the Project Steering Committees.