SEEP Network is an international network of 74 NGOs committed to reducing poverty through the empowerment of medium and small enterprises. Currently SEEP is working in 139 countries and reaches over 25 million microentrepreneurs and their families.
SEEP´s mission is to connect practitioners in a global learning environment and to create a forum for the exchange of ideas, knowledge and learned lessons on a specific topic. One of these programs is the Practitioners Learning Program (PLP) in local tourism.
This program focuses on the identification of strategies that help support small and medium enterprises, which contribute on their part to the reduction of poverty by creating jobs in local tourism. All these activities go hand in hand with our environment.
Although Mesoamerica Travel isn’t an NGO but a company with commercial character we have in 2007 been selected to participate in the program mentioned above. The reason for this decision is simple: The persons in charge of the PLP in local tourism want to connect aid projects with commercial activities because the past has clearly shown that a project can only be sustainable and create jobs in the long run when it includes a product that sells successfully.
Project of Mesoamerica Travel within the PLP:
With the grant obtained from the PLP we have been supporting the community of Buenos Aires, a community of coffee farmers located in the buffer zone of Cusuco National Park. This project consists in providing assistance to the community in the administration and the commercialization of their product, which includes the gorgeous National Park with its great diversity of flora and fauna and an Eco-Lodge. This lodge was built four years ago with a donation from the United Nations.
The Practitioners Learning Program (PLP) in local tourism officially ends in August 2008. Of course Mesoamerica Travel will continue its cooperation with the community Buenos Aires. Soon we will publish information about the developments in our project on this page.
Mesoamerica Travel Team
At the beginning of the year 2008 we supported the community of Buenos Aires with the creation of a Tourism Commission, which has the aim to be the mediator between the community and Mesoamerica Travel. Together we have decided to carry out several projects as to renovation and maintenance of the Eco-Lodge. Some of these projects have already been accomplished such as the maintenance of the weather-beaten veranda, the painting of walls and the repairing of several signs.
At the end of May we have been visited by the two project managers of the Practioners Learning Program (PLP) from New York and the representatives of the other PLP projects in local tourism from Guatemala, the Moskitia (Honduras) and Nicaragua. Apart from several seminars and exchange of our experiences, this visit comprised of a small expedition to Buenos Aires and the Cusuco National Park. On Thursday May 22nd we left hot San Pedro Sula with three 4x4 vehicles towards the chilly Merendón mountain chain. In Buenos Aires and its surroundings we enjoyed the local coffee and food. Together with the Tourist Commission we were delighted about the fact that all participants of this trip agreed that the National Park as well as Eco-Lodge and its surroundings are very beautiful and retrieve a great development potential.
On August 22nd, 2008 we visited again the community of Buenos Aires, the Eco-Lodge and the Cusuco National Park, this time we were accompanied by a group of local journalists. The goal of this trip was to familiarize Hondurans with this unique paradise through newspaper articles and TV documentaries. The Cusuco National Park is not only interesting for foreign tourists. Due to its proximity to San Pedro Sula, it’s an ideal destination for a weekend trip with family or friends. Three journalists, one cameraman and one photographer have joined us.
The Highlight of this trip was without any doubt the encounter with a breathtaking Quetzal. It seemed that he had been waiting for us right next to his nest. We couldn’t believe the peace and serenity of the mystical sacred bird of the Mayas and Aztecs!
Everybody was completely fascinated. Of course later the Eco – Lodge and the PLP Project were the focus again. After a delicious lunch with handmade fresh tortillas Carlos, René and Miguel, all members of the Tourism Commission, answered with a lot of patience all questions. It is quite obvious that they’re very proud of their country and that it’s a great pleasure for them to share their knowledge about Flora and Fauna with all visitors.