Promoting Rural and Eco-Tourism

In 2003, with support from the Ford Foundation, we began identifying opportunities in the tourism sector. Our tourism industry strategic plan was developed by a pro-bono McKinsey & Company team. They identified eco-tourism as the segment with significant growth potential and where TechnoServe’s expertise could add the most value. More specifically, eco-tourism enables us to have an impact on isolated rural communities, which might not otherwise have access to employment or business opportunities. Our approach is based on working with a cluster of eco-tourism lodges that show that ecotourism, if practiced in a responsible way, can bring benefits to the rural poor. The aim is for these lodges, like the community-owned Covane Lodge in Limpopo National Park, to set high standards of responsible tourism and to demonstrate how tourism can promote rural development. Similarly, we are establishing a model for the restoration, monetization and maintenance of Ilha de Mozambique, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To achieve this, a community foundation (Fundação Ilha de Moçambique) was established to give religious, cultural and craft groups a say in the future development of the island.