RED prides itself as an organization that views challenges, successes and failures as opportunities for learning, evolving and pushing the entire sustainable tourism sector forward in Mexico. Over the last five years we have developed tools and methodology to strengthen micro-enterprises and individuals committed to sustainable tourism. Over the last 18 months, RED has leveraged its tools and know-how, providing training and technical assistance to a group of 11 micro-enterprises in Baja California Sur, Sonora, Sinaloa and Nayarit in our project: Strengthening Small Scale Operators in Priority Conservation Areas. This project marks an exciting jumping off point for RED for two main reasons:
Regional expansion – the Strengthening Small Scale Operators in Priority Conservation Areas project is focused on micro-enterprises in 4 states in Mexico, and opens the door to implementing the RED model throughout Mexico.
Knowledge transfer – While RED has collaborated with NGO’s in the past, this project allowed us to transfer pieces of our know-how and methodology to our partners in the project, Sumar and Onca Explorations, magnifying our impact and helping other organizations work more efficiently and effectively.
RED and its partners Onca and Sumar only complete half of the equation. Running a small business is tough; we know from experience. It takes trust and commitment for small business owners to step away from daily operations to analyze challenges, participate in trainings, and return home to follow up on assignments. The owners and operators of the 11 micro-enterprises that are the focus of this project stand out for devoting their time and effort to improving their businesses.
What does this have to do with sustainability?
All of the micro-enterprises that comprise the training program operate in or around Natural Protected Areas (NPAs). Robust small businesses are an important component to the management of these NPAs, in that tourism provides a viable employment alternative to fishing and other extractive activities. Owners and operators of small businesses that depend on healthy natural resources are also vital to the long term stewardship of habitat and species.