On the occasion of the World Earth Day, the Ministry of Environment of Panama launched the Green Tourism Initiative, one of the strategic priorities of Minister of Environment Mirei Endara.
Endara noted that this Green Tourism strategy has several components that aim to develop a shared national vision and to prepare an action plan that will allow ecotourism to be a driver of economic growth and social inclusion, as established by the Strategic Governmental Plan 2015-2019.
To achieve this goal, the Minister stressed that it is crucial to have the support and involvement of key stakeholders in the public and private sector, NGOs, community groups, municipalities and volunteers, including their partner implementing institutions, the Tourism Authority of Panama and the National Institute of Culture.
As part of this initiative the Ministry of Environment issued a Decree, which supports the development of a National Action Plan for the Development of Ecotourism in Protected Areas of Panama. This reaffirms the commitment of the Government of the Republic of Panama to implement the components of the Green Tourism Initiative, said Minister Endara.
President Varela explained that the signed Decree promotes sectorial integration of the Ministry of Environment, the Tourism Authority of Panama and the National Institute of Culture in terms of ecotourism with the goal to develop, together with the civil society, communities and private companies a national vision towards a green, responsible tourism aligned to national and international standards.
“This way, we will promote a sustainable economic activity, valuing our natural resources, and promoting prosperity with equity,” stressed the President.
An Action Plan will be elaborated with support of Sustainable Travel International, “through a participatory process that should lead us to create a country brand for our ecotourism products, which will generate demand parallel to the increase of Panama´s ecotourism products “, said president Varela.
The president highlighted that “The action plan’s primary goal is to generate welfare for communities and organisations within and adjacent to protected areas.”
Minister Endara mentioned that some of these actions will be supported by the ECOTUR-AP project, funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) through the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).