idGuides approach to ecotourism
idGuides’ approach to ecotourism is driven by the belief that conservation is best supported when people have financial incentives, security and capacity to manage land sustainably and to conserve biodiversity.
We believe that community-based ecotourism can provide concrete incentives and capacity for conservation, but only when products and services are competitive, and developed and operable by communities grounded in their existing knowledge, landscape and institutions.
An ecotourism venture, product, service or destination is competitive when it is developed, managed and governed to the high standards responsive to the specific requirements which attract responsible tourists.
Only a competitive product or service will generate sufficient sustained revenues, finance and benefits to positively impact communities and contribute to biodiversity conservation.
idGuides Standards for competitive community-based ecotourism
idGuides has developed a comprehensive set of standards uniquely combining 3 core pillars – Great Product, Service & Safety, Positive Impact:
- Well-designed community-based ecotourism products & services building on landscape, nature, knowledge and cultural assets, and which are attractive to accessible responsible markets;
- Solid risk management systems, communication and leadership standards appropriate for wilderness, operational and guiding context
- Required institutional governance arrangements to ensure participation and benefit-sharing for conservation, community and development.
Anyone can apply to idGuides to qualify for membership of idGuides Connect, the umbrella organization and online directory for idGuides professional members. To apply for idGuides Connect membership, you must provide evidence qualifying in all three standard sets above. idGuides is happy to help individual guides, communities, operators or hotels interested to qualify for these.
idGuides Ecotourism Services
idGuides’ ecotourism approach and service supports communities, individuals, private sector, NGOs and governments to access, learn about, articulate, adopt and maintain comprehensive standards for competitive ecotourism. Specifically to;
- Recognize community ecotourism assets – “Landscape, Knowledge, Institutions, Traditions”.
- Assess potential products & services appropriate to a landscape and market, grounded in existing knowledge and traditions.
- Take into account relevant stakeholders, capacity needs, management and operational risks.
- Realize community ecotourism products and services – “Getting it Right”
- Participatory business modeling for suitable product development and strategies for targeted, low cost marketing
- Training and Standards for management, operations and services provision – lodging, food, transport, expeditions / camping, guiding, emergency management
- Sustain community ecotourism assets – Environmental stewardship
- Assess existing institutions and capacity / suitability for local ecotourism governance.
- Put in place the governance arrangements necessary to enable wider benefit-sharing, revenue-allocation for conservation and development.
Scope of Work
idGuides can help to determine the appropriate scope of work depending on:
- Scale (site, landscape or ecosystem);
- Depth of engagement (tech survey, responsible tourism assessment, tourism for conservation modeling)
- Required result – eg recommendations or implementation (tech survey, outline /detailed programming, implementation, monitoring, evaluation).
Connecting to Markets – idGuides Connect
Once a community ecotourism venture, independent guide, or local operator commits to, qualifies and adopts the idGuides Standards, we can help connect to responsible markets. One such market is responsible SAVE tourism (sustainability, adventure, volunteer, education), rapidly growing globally and in Asia and for which Indonesia’s rural communities and landscapes are especially suited.
idGuides connects communities directly through idGuides-own SAVE outdoor education programs and expeditions and via our umbrella association, idGuides Connect, our online portal hosting profiles and links to all idGuides members who qualify for and maintain the standard.
Sample past/ current projects include:
USAID’s IFACS (Indonesia Forest and Climate Support) program, Aceh Sumatra: Responsible Tourism Needs Assessment and capacity development program/support for development of ecotourism enterprise and planning, for Districts and buffer-zone communities of UNESCO’s World Heritage for Nature, Gunung Leuser National Park and ecosystem. (Feb 2014, ongoing)
idGuides Connect Sentul, Karang Tengah village, Bogor West Java: Development and launch of ecotourism initiative, Community Trails, Easy Escape Jakarta Half Day Treks and Eco-Camp, with Cigobang, Wangun and Depok sub-villages. Ongoing ecotourism identification and product / service development, community guides training and capacity development, links to Jakarta markets, design and development of revenue-sharing mechanism and operational support (April 2009- ongoing).