A step forward towards a regional development strategy based on community-tourism
Agriculture and cattle herding are probably the most important economic activities in the remote and rural area of Sigchos, in central Ecuador. Its vast lands produce a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and plants, and its soft and wet climate creates a good atmosphere for the animals to easily adapt.
However, Sigchos is also full of special attractions. From its natural waterfalls to the breathtaking cliffs; its Inca history, with the legendary Inca Trail but also the recently discovered ruins where the latest Inca Emperor rested for all eternity; its marvellous landscapes and warm people; those are some of the magical but still unknown charms of this remote and beautiful place.
Its inhabitants are very aware of the potential of their homeland and are looking forward to sharing it with the rest of the world. But they don’t want to do it carelessly. They have a clear vision about how this touristic potential should develop: they want a sustainable and community-based development process for the touristic sector of Sigchos.
A powerful community vision toward a better future
In October of 2016, the community Association of Touristic Services ‘Sigchos en el Mundo’ was established in order to promote and harness the touristic resources located in the canton of Sigchos. The association has now 112 members of different ethnicities, most of them men.
They are currently in a very initial stage of market and feasibility research, that CEF is financially supporting to help them identify and map their main resources and advantages, and to design attractive touristic packages that can contain their large and amazing offer of routes and natural attractions.
Although they don’t generate revenue yet, they are working very hard to become a solid and profitable organization able to promote community tourism in the region, and to educate and organize events to foster the touristic development of the region in a sustainable and responsible way.
They have established an association to offer community and sustainable tourism services.
The association has currently 112 members, indigenous, montubios and mestizos. There are 34 women and 78 men.
This community-based organization was founded in October of 2016.
They are located in the small villages of Isinliví and Chugchilán, canton of Sigchos, Cotopaxi province, Ecuador.
English Instruction and Community Development: Opening Sigchos to the world
During the summer of 2017, we started working with the Ecuadorian English teacher Noemi Sisalema who developed an ad-hoc English instruction program for the Sigchos tourism association.
With a strong focus on community development and the acquisition of skills related to community tourism, Noemi carried out a 4-month English course for almost 50 students from the remote communities in the area.
After the success of this first term, with more than an 80% of the students achieving the level goals of the course, at the beginning of 2018 we were able to reach an agreement with our Canadian partner ILSC Education Group, who made a meaningful financial contribution and became a sponsor for a 2018 extension of the English course in benefit of the community tourism project.
The obtention of language skills will significantly improve the capacity of this community enterprise to offer good quality services and achieve their business goals. We couldn’t be happier to count on a corporate partner like ILSC, who truly understands the value that a socially responsible business can add to the community development processes we are promoting in places like Sigchos.