Project title: MARKET ACCESS FOR RURAL TOURISM SMEs
Countries: BELIZE, GUATEMALA, HONDURAS, EL SALVADOR, NICARAGUA, COSTA RIC, PANAMA
Current status: Ongoing Concluded
Duration (est.)/dates: July 2011 – June 2013
Partner entities: Secretariat of Central America Tourism Integration (SITCA); Federation of Central America Tourism Chambers;
Source(s) of Funding: ST-EP Foundation, NGO CONSUDE (Swiss Development Agency)
Executing Agency: Secretariat of Central America Tourism Integration (SITCA);
Main project objective: to facilitate the access to the market for rural tourism SMEs with a view to enhancing competitiveness and positioning.
Tourism current trends show that visitors are increasingly interested in destinations that promote the sustainable development of communities. Moreover, the promotion and purchase of tourism services is nowadays mainly carried out through electronic tools, such as booking portals, websites and social media. In this sense, the rural tourism offer in Central America has become an additional option for regional and international visitors, interested in discovering local cultures.
E-commerce training: A training course for 40 participants (small accommodations, tour operators and tourism chambers members of FEDECATUR) was carried out in August 2011 in El Salvador within the framework of the Second Rural Community Tourism Forum of Central America. The training analysed the situation of the website of the Network and provided recommendations on the use of innovative marketing tools such as twitter, blogs, videos, Facebook, AdWords, SEO and SEM, etc.
E-commerce technical assistance: The company Inertia Solutions has been recruited to provide technical assistance to FEDECATUR for the development of an e-commerce strategy for its members. Moreover, the website of the Small Rural Accommodations Network is being improved and a website is being created for FACOT (Federation of Central American Operators). In addition, an application for the Central American region for mobile phones and tablets is being developed.
Main project outputs/deliverables:
Development of a website for the Network of Rural Tourism Accommodations and FACOT (Federation of Tour Operators) and a mobile application for the Central American region was completed. www.turismoruralcentroamerica.com
The website is available in an English and Spanish version. Project stakeholders try to promote it actively, so that is can become an important tool to generate bookings for rural tourism SMEs in Central America.