[GSEF2016]: International collaboration for municipal tourism and economic development

South America
North America
Local Government
Fairtrade / Sustainable Tourism
Public Policy / Legal Framework

Presented at: GSEF2016 Montreal 

Organisation: City of Matagalpa - Federation of Canadian Municipalities 

Date: September 7, 2016

Presenter: Maryorie Flores (Department Head, Small Business Care and Promotion)


The Municipal Partners for Economic Development (MPED) program funded by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) supported the Municipality of Drayton Valley, (Alberta) to work with the City of Matagalpa (Nicaragua) to develop eco-tourism initiatives in El Arenal Natural Park Reserve. This municipal partnership project has enhanced environmental sustainability while generating jobs and strengthening micro-enterprises in the area. Doing so required meeting with all stakeholders to ensure their interest were being met and demonstrating that a change would will bring new positive opportunities. On-going communication and cooperation allowed for farmers to adapt their practices and understand their potential role in agricultural tourism medicinal plant suppliers and tour operators to see the opportunities of reaching out to new clients and schools and universities to use a “real live classroom” for their modules on conservation, preservation and sustainability.
Important lessons learned include the importance of developing strategic alliances and shared responsibilities that reduce costs, the importance of ensuring open, transparent and on-going communication with all stakeholders to build trust and generate synergies and results, and the vital importance of being able to adapt throughout all stages of a project to ensure its success.