Dominican Sustainable Tourism Organization, DSTO

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ODTS About Plans, Programs & Projects Municipal Ecotourism Districts
Municipal Ecotourism Districts PDF Print E-mail

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In an unprecedented event, it has been taken a definite step to consolidate a final vanguard decision of the municipal administration towards the achievement of sustainable development.

For the first time in Dominican history, more than 30 municipalities, in a first phase, involving all sectors of everyday life, have begun setting up a joint structure to implement the plans for the development and progress of their communities, through an efficient and updated environmental management, which will stimulate and organize the economic activities, both traditional and nontraditional. Similarly, will respect and promote local, regional, and national socio-cultural aspects.

Thus, we get closer to the dream of every responsible and concerned Dominican of a country's sustainable development, which combines economic growth, in balance with socio-cultural development and in harmony with nature. With this important step, this dream is being materialized, giving space to the participation of citizens and organizations interested in supporting the country's progress.

The idea and concept of this achievement is part of the first and only project for Sustainable Development in the Dominican Republic, designed, planned and, implemented by citizens, cooperative and non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and public authorities.

The initiative, promoted from its beginning in 1995, is under the coordination of the Council for Sustainable Development and Promotion of the Dominican Republic, CONDESPI, through its subsidiaries, the Councils for Sustainable Development and Municipal Promotion, as well as the local councils of municipalities, framed in “Dominicana, a Nation’s Project towards a Sustainable Development".

Its legal basis is protected under the laws 3455, 5622, and 6400, concerning the organization of municipalities, municipal autonomy, and General about Municipal Environment and Natural Resources, respectively, among others.

Among its environmental and economic components, are the development of tourist activities and sustainable agriculture through the demarcation of zones or municipal areas with similar characteristics, called "Ecotourism Municipal Districts or Zones", where, through specific regulations to control environmental variables and the production of goods and services, the protection of nature is reinforced.

This regulatory framework is based on updated concepts and approaches, according to new global trends and paradigms and the integration of all national, regional, and community sectors.

A key element in the design and support of this new organization concept is that for its development, it is subjected to the municipal structure. Then, in a joint manner, it forms regions or areas with similar potential, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, embraced in ecotourism municipal districts and, thus, in ecological corridors. This does not detract the urban areas belonging to the participating municipalities.

At present, in its first stage, the Ecotourism Municipal Districts, set up as Ecological Corridors, are:

1) Ecotourism Municipal District of El Paso de los Hidalgos, named in honor of the historic route between La Isabela and Jánico, traveled by Christopher Columbus on his second trip to the island of Hispaniola; when he reached the top of the mountain, before the great view of the Valle This del Cibao, called the site, Puerto de los Hijosdalgos in honor of his companions. It includes the municipalities of Esperanza, Guananico, Guayubín (ep), Laguna Salada, Los Hidalgo, and Villa Isabela.

2) Ecotourism Municipal District of Diego de Ocampo, named for having among its attractions, the highest hill of the northern mountain range, which is named on behalf of the black slave or cimarrón rebel who, in colonial times, used the area as a refuge. This includes the municipalities of San Jose de Altamira, Santiago and Villa Gonzalez.

3) Ecotourism Municipal District of Ámbar: As its name suggests, covers the area of the greater abundance and quality in the world of this fossilized resin plant, as well as the best craftsmen who work it. This includes the towns of Cabarete, Imbert, San Felipe de Puerto Plata, San José de Altamira, Santiago, Sosua (ep), and Tamboril.

4) Ecotourism Municipal District of Los Ríos, where flows significant amount of fresh water from the northern mountain range. This includes the municipalities of Gaspar Hernandez, Jamao al Norte, Moca, Río San Juan, Salcedo (ep), and Tenares.

5) Ecotourism Municipal District of los Alisios, which highlights the entrance to our island of the Elisions winds, that carry the clouds formations so necessary to irrigate the land. This includes the municipalities of El Factor, Nagua, and San Francisco de Macoris.

6) Ecotourism Municipal District of la Sierra, composed by the municipalities of El Pino, (ep), Loma de Cabrera (ep), Jánico, Monción, Partido (PD), Restauración (ep), San José de las Matas, San Ignacio Sabaneta (ep), Santiago, and Villa los Almácigos (ep).

7)  Ecotourism Municipal District of Sierra de Samaná, composed by the towns of Las Terrenas (ep), Samaná (ep), and Sánchez (ep).

Currently, we are working on the creation of other ecotourism municipal districts   through the already initiated integration process of some 40 new municipalities.

The tourism activities and sustainable agriculture to be developed in the  ecotourism municipal districts, will have as major components, besides the natural attractions, the integration of all kinds of cultural attractions, history, crafts, recreation, and more, available in urban centers and in other areas of the cities, thus becoming integral municipal plans.

The project bases its success on the participation of private enterprises under their community modality, micro, small, and medium, including the large companies that develop and provide a consistent high quality supply according to the existing tourist demand and the marketing of territorial units (towns, municipalities, and regions), compensated between each other, under a private investment scheme coordinated by the same sector and as part of the Master Plan for the Dominican Sustainable Tourism Development.

At present, we are working in each participating municipality, for the integration of the various entities and individuals that have traditionally done outstanding environmental, social, and economic work, for the purpose of forming and structuring the agencies that will be responsible for developing the different aspects of the project.

The Dominican Tourism Sustainable Organization, ODTS, since the creation of the ecotourism municipal districts, has been the leading institution, as well as support in terms of tourism development, in the participating municipalities, which are committed to succeed.