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  • Writer's pictureByron Alvarado Vanegas

Authorities of the University of Cuenca visited pilots of the Cajas Massif Biosphere Area

Last Saturday 10th and 11th of September, Architect María Augusta Hermida (Rector of the University of Cuenca) and Ana Lucía Serrano (Dean of the Faculty of Hospitality Sciences) visited Naranjal together with the technical team of the PREIT-Tour. The visit aimed to get to know some pilot studies in the provinces of Azuay and Guayas which are part of the project Fostering a platform for research-based education to support sustainable development through Tourism in the Cajas Massif Biosphere Area (CMBA).

The first day's programme started with a visit to the 7 Cascadas, where there is a tourism association whose main objective is to work together on tourism activities focused on nature and agriculture. In addition, the authorities took advantage of the visit to sign a cooperation agreement between the University of Cuenca and the Asociación de Agroturismo las 7 Cascadas “ASGROTUCAS”. The day continued with a visit to the Hacienda San Jacinto and Parador El Samán, which is a private enterprise that focuses on the production of palm, cocoa, milk and agrotourism. The first day ended at the Kaluz Inn, where the owner intends to form a network in which some communities in the Naranjal area can join to work on the creation of integrated tourism products.

The second day began with a visit to the Recinto 6 de Julio, where there is a collective of members in charge of the collection of crabs and the conservation of natural resources. In this place, it was possible to observe the diversity of flora and fauna species that exist in the mangrove swamp. In addition, the team was able to see the organisational structure of the association and the complementary activities carried out by its members in the area, such as the production of honey. After this visit, the technical team went to Migüir, where its inhabitants have developed tourism projects and recreational activities such as tours of the community, horse rental and extreme sports. All the tourism actors in the community are part of the "Asociación de Emprendedores Turísticos y Afines de Migüir", who have promoted the tourism potential of the area to foster economic development of its inhabitants.

The visit of the authorities of the University of Cuenca has the purpose of linking the academy with the local actors, to know the reality of each territory. In this way, it will be possible to generate cooperation strategies and actions that can benefit the communities of the Global South.

Photo credits: PREIT-Tour

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