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  • Writer's pictureByron Alvarado Vanegas

Luz y Guía Tourist Cluster

The challenge of integrating communities to achieve territorial sustainability through the creation of comprehensive tourism products.





Description of the study case


Luz y Guía was created on September 14, 1973, in the midst of a dispute to define the territorial limits between the province of Azuay and Guayas, which have not been resolved over the years. The cooperative was focused on the agricultural development of the communities Centro Shuar Tsuer Etnsa (Camacho), Zhagal, Abdón Calderón, and Primero de Mayo.


The territory has thermal water springs, which have become an important tourist resource for the Tsuer Entsa and Zhagal communities, as they attract a large number of visitors from nearby towns. Other areas of the cooperative have been strengthened with agro-productive and fishing activities. Some of the communities in this cooperative have begun to carry out tourist activities, but they are aware that they need to improve processes and train themselves to generate a higher quality tourist product.


The actors of the cooperative seek to form a network in which different communities with tourism resources can be integrated to collaborate and work on the creation of joint tourism products. Among the spaces that make up this network are the Hacienda Kaluz, the Shuar Tsuer Entsa Community, the Zhagal Community, the Saman Hacienda, the 6 de Julio Crab Farmers Association, and the 7 Cascadas Community.


The idea of this project is to create a tourist destination for the southern part of the country, taking advantage of the fact that Naranjal is a transit point for people moving to the Ecuadorian highlands. In this case, the Hosteria Kaluz will function as a coordinating entity for the attractions that make up the network.


...it is necessary to offer a quality product to achieve the satisfaction of the visitors... the conformation of a tourist cluster would bring a great benefit for all the inhabitants... ...but we have the great challenge of working on organizational aspects and the sustainable management of our tourism resources.

Some members have created the "Zhagalito" destination as a brand that aims to integrate several attractions of the cooperative. They assure that the philosophy of this association must be based on the equitable benefit for all the people involved in the territory. Therefore, if there are tourists in one attraction, there will also be tourists in the rest of the communities. However, it is necessary to offer a quality product to achieve the satisfaction of the visitors and in this aspect, there is a great way to go.


Despite the efforts to constitute this tourist cluster, there is a great challenge to integrate the communities and promote collaboration among actors, which will allow the development of the entire territory.


Fortunately, there are communities that are progressively organizing themselves and are willing to collaborate as a team. Hugo Vanegas, the owner of the Hostería Kaluz, assures that the formation of a tourist cluster in Naranjal would bring great benefits to all the inhabitants of the canton. "We cannot deny that the canton of Naranjal has enviable cultural and natural resources, but we have the great challenge of working on organizational aspects and the sustainable management of our tourism resources”.


Photo Credits: Project Team



Source: initial information on the Pilot Project generated by the international team of the PREIT-Tour platform in May 2020.

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