Community, Education, and Outreach
The remarkable marine diversity, cultural complexity, and paleontological history of the Bocas del Toro Archipelago has made it one of the most popular ecotourism destinations in Panama. Profitable wildlife ecotourism can mutually benefit humans and wild animal populations resulting in successful conservation and sustainable economic development of human communities. However, poorly planned ecotourism activities and infrastructure can have serious impact on the environment offsetting its benefits. The Bocas del Toro (BDT) region sustains one of the largest boat-based tourism industries in Panama. Thousands of tourists visit every year to observe dolphins, coral reefs, starfish beaches, and indigenous communities. In 2008 the Government of Panama evaluated the status of BDT tourism industry as part of their national plan for sustainable development. The study revealed a rapid, disorganized, and unbalanced growth of the industry in the area. Without the proper management plan any future increase in tourism can have serious consequences on the marine biodiversity of this area. BDT is in urgent need of scientific and community driven initiatives that ensures the sustainable development of ecotourism activities while leaving up to its expectations of protecting biodiversity and promoting awareness about our oceans.
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Kids are like sponges we bring the information and material and next thing you know they are experts in the topic! Fantastic this is one of our favorite activities in Bocas.
Since 2013 we have launched the ‘Observe, Admire, Protect’ public awareness campaign to promote sustainable and profitable ecotourism practices.
Engagement of the BDT community in sustainable ecotourism and participatory conservation planning and conservation can make changes possible. We have organized forums with stakeholders and the community to address current issues and future solutions that ensure sustainable ecotourism practices in BDT.