project presentation, genesis and antecedents
| English version | versión en Español
Kiskeya is, along with Ayiti and Bohio, a Taino indian name
for the island that is today shared by the Dominican Republic
© Kalalu-Danza 1999 | email: email@example.com
| Main Page http://kiskeya-alternative.org/KAD
What is this project about?:
This is a pilot project on New Information and Communication
Technologies (NICT) applied to alternative and/or sustainable tourism that
aims to determine:
- How e-commerce can enable development of sustainable tourism
by introducing: new promotion and commercialization channels, direct communication
and interaction between "consumers and producers", higher awareness and
consciousness of tourism , "quality" control, niche market expansion, etc.;
- How web/Internet applications can become an "orgware" (organization-ware)
for a cooperative network of cultural/environmental/social sustainable
tourism initiatives which will structure and organize collective thinking,
actions and services, thereby securing their financial livelihood.
This project is part of a research program on how new information and communication
technologies can enable and sustain new developmental initiatives, more
of a Research Consortium on Electronic Commerce and Sustainable
Tourism that is supported by the International
Development Research Center of Canada.
What is alternative and/or sustainable tourism?
The concept of sustainable tourism (as ecotourism) is still a much
disputed topic. We hope this project will help develop a more systematic
and in depth qualification tool. For now we use the following set of criterion
to qualify a tourism project as sustainable if it:
respects (does not degrade) and valorizes local social, cultural, human,
and environmental background and values;
promotes involvement and direct participation by community members in the
project, as well as empowering them for being actors of their own development
bring direct financial benefits to the community and/or bring resources
for the community development (infrastructures, education, organization
integrates monitoring mechanisms that ensure all of the above.
We must be careful in these endeavors, for while some initiatives really
look to encourage and develop environmental preservation, cultural re-valuation,
community development, the limit between those initiatives and nature tourism
activities (as rafting, horse riding, scuba diving), that are not necessarily
socially sustainable, may be difficult to capture. Some operators try to
benefit from the "ecotourism" label without seriously responding to the
We conceive alternative tourism as a conscious and rich way of
traveling, wherein open minded travelers and local hosts, with mutual respect,
learn about social, environmental and cultural background from one another.
It is a personal search for magical experiences or original entertainment,
away from crowded resorts or luxurious or isolated residences. It is about
self building paths, choosing where to stay and what to do and always looking
for harmony with the hosting space.
Mass tourism is considered by many experts to be the most important,
if not the only, mean for economical development in the Caribbean region.
We believe that is a short sighted view, and, that the general way tourism
is developing is in reality harmful for these countries and their inhabitants.
That is why we can also use a negative definition saying that a project
not sustainable when:
Environmentally: it produces degradation, serious threats on biological
diversity, natural beauty, resources and landscapes, etc.; and does not
participate in its protection or recovery with the development their infrastructures
Socially it breaks local structures and displaces people, creates shanty-towns
behind resorts, does not encourage local empowerment or participation;
produces economic over exploitation, most of the generated income or distribute
it in very few local; the only exchange between the natives occurs during
room service, at the beach (merchants), and/or with prostitution (Offering
cheap children, men and women in Dominican Rep. is often used, and not
always undercover, as a marketing asset by tour operators), ) it does not
lead to a process where people are encouraged to empower themselves to
develop their own path for social and individual well being;
Culturally it degrades local identity and values, produces a social inferiority
complex and indirectly illegal immigration (for instance, the most
tourist developed shores in Dominican Republic are also the shores from
which most of the boat people leave), and/or practices a merchant
use of the local cultural and traditional expressions that desarticulates
them from them original sources and authentic values that could permit
the social integration and cohesion.
Alternative initiatives in Kiskeya Island
Kalalú-Danza conducted in 1997 an identification study of alternative/sustainable/cultural
tourism offers in Dominican Republic. (See
antecedents) This database is going to be updated in 1999 as part of
We found that few groups and organizations have been working on developing
tourist activities that can capture part of the revenue generated by massive
tourism, reconcile environmental protection and even serve the local human
development through education, infrastructure development, community participation
in the project, etc.
But these initiatives are faced with strong limitations in
gaining economic sustainability or market shares, and are struggling to
maintain their standards and proposed goals, because the nature of their
business implies higher operation costs for a much smaller flow than mass
tourism, and of the necessary business activities or services have costs
that done by traditional means prohibit the financial sustainability of
these initiatives. In what this research project is concerned we identify
the high costs of:
the necessary marketing actions to address the potential niche markets,
such as publishing a promotional catalog, participating in fairs and advertising;
communication interactions, to provide complete information on the product
or make reservations;
commercialization and transaction management;
specialized services (both upstream and downstream) or input providers;
training and information;
investment services, etc.
Travel agents, tour operators, air companies, and the tourist
industry service providers show a low interest in providing services or
help for small scale and alternative initiatives.
Last but not least, the existing offers or initiatives in alternative,
sustainable, or ecological tourism are sparse, uncoordinated and without
common criteria, venues, actions or projects to enhance their potential
reach or market share.
Kalalú-Danza is an active member of the "Initiative
Group for Alternatif Tourism in Haiti" or Destination DjonDjon that
the french NGO AFVP
is promoting Haiti and in contact with several groups interested in ecotourism
in Dominican Republic.
Opportunities of electronic commerce for sustainable
The emergence of Internet/web applications and it use among
the potential consumers of "sustainable" tourism, in the developing and
developed countries, has opened new opportunities, that this project aims
to explore and share, to overcome the barriers and limitations in economically
First, we have identified the potential of the new information
and communication technologies to:
be used efficiently for promotion and marketing of small scale offers,
(in particular relating to structure and communication costs), and then
create or stimulate both the offer and demand of alternative tourism on
different sub markets (niches) in order to attain the critical mass in
terms of market,
be cost efficiently used for commercial transaction management
permits direct contact and interaction between customers and producers,
or other intermediates, and a rich "pre" and "after" sale communication,
the individualization offers or products, etc.;
enable the creation of attractive and combined " products "
offer complete "pre buying" information, (rich in depth and presentation)
Second, we believe that the flexible, decentralized, and participatory
nature of this technology can be very efficient in providing the "sustainable"
tourism offers a common venue or network, in which they would have the
opportunity to coordinate and develop cooperative schemes to:
This project will develop it activities on three main axes:
share information within the sector and create a link with specialists
and researchers, donors, development agencies, NGOs, etc.;
realize common promotion and marketing strategies,
coordinate or share commercial transaction management structures,
organize cooperative efforts to obtain price advantages on goods and services,
training programs, credits, access to international development grants
and programs, etc.
lobby for public policies promoting sustainable tourism at local, national,
and regional levels
set a common model to define and monitor the necessary criteria of what
is sustainable, alternative and/or ecological tourism.
Internet promotion and marketing:
Internet promotion and marketing
Cooperative Network development
Prepare a web gateway with all of the online web sites and information
resources concerning alternative, ecological and sustainable tourism in
the island. For that we will:
format an attractive and complete one stop guide for "alternative" travelers,
in English, Spanish and French;
continually identify and monitor existing "alternative-sustainable-ecological-cultural"
establish a rating or validating mechanism, a sort of "quality stamp",
in cooperation with other institutions (NGOs, researchers, Universities,
public institutions, etc.) that will ensure social, environmental, economical,
cultural, and service quality.
develop and include original content (guides, descriptions, etc.)
conduct a permanent Internet marketing of the Web site (promotion in public
related forums, indexation, linking, publications in both the local and
international traditional and online media)
We plan to:
Make agreements with selected partners for promoting and selling their
offers (we will also monitor their evolution - quality control).
Aggregate services such as online reservation and payment, interactive
journey design, air ticketing, insurance, car rental, etc.
Create value packages (combined offers + other complementary services)
Book and sell the packages through the Internet (conduct all transactions
as a travel agency).
Allow interactivity wherein "clients" choose and check the availability
of travel combinations and create their own value packages (combined offers
+ other services).
Conduct Internet-based customers surveys,
Enable "producer / consumer" communication and set up an interactive forum
for prospective / former "customers".
Monitor "clients" satisfaction
We intend to gather actors in a cooperative and decentralized network:
Research Consortium on Electronic Commerce and
to conduct a networked offer and promotion,
collaborate in better targeting niche markets, setting attractive and combined
Propose "cooperative services" for sustainable tourism (cooperative supplying,
access to services, etc.)
Propose information and interaction channels for international organizations,
NGOs, research centers, universities, etc.. ;
Develop an online documentation center for specialists, NGOs, tourism providers,
Set a specific training module for sustainable tourism providers who wish
to go online;
lobby for better publics local and regional regulations.
The launching of this project is made possible by its participation
in the Research Consortium on Electronic Commerce and Sustainable Tourism,
that is funded by the International Development
Research Center under a Canadian Partnerships research grant
on "Electronic Commerce and Sustainable
Development in the Americas" .
This consortium is composed of pilot projects in Canada, Costa
Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Ecuador. A framework document describes
the rationale for the research consortium, its members, and its expected
outputs. The document is at http://22.214.171.124/ecsda/consortium.htm).
The consortium is coordinated by Charles
Davis, NSERC-SSHRC-NB Power-Xerox Research Chair
in the Management of Technological Change, Faculty of Business University
of New Brunswick, Saint John, Canada .
Remarks on Sustainability
This project looks forward to enable the financial health, and thus
the existence, of social and environmental tourism offers, as a model of
community development. We think it is essential to achieve its financial
sustainability. However, our primary focus is not on setting up a financially
Because the market forces could easily drive us away from our main objective,
there should be a permanent and delicate trade-off between reaching financial
self-sufficiency and maintaining high standards (as in rating or validating)
on the services both marketed and offered.
We invest hope in the development of a demonstrative application, rich
in lessons on how the (so renowned) New Information and Communication Technologies
can bring to the developing countries a positive transformation process
of the under developing trends and patterns.
Opening in July 1999
Alternative Destination WebSite
Genesis of the Project and antecedents
Kalalú-Danza's project for establishing
a cultural and sustainable tourist destination (1996- )
In 1996 Kalalú-Danza established its main working axes
A regional program of workshops " expression and cultural identity " for
children in rural and/or urban marginal areas; project document in Spanish:
"Talleres de Expresión
y Identidad Cultural para niños y niñas (4-15 años)
en comunidades rurales y urbanas desfavorecidas en el Este de la República
A research program consisting in systematizing the knowledge and transmission
of Afro-Dominican expressions;
A continuous offer of training and workshops for several groups: teachers,
children, professionals, amateurs etc. in afro-caribbean dances and afro-contemporaan
A continuous and direct working relation with original cultural/folklore
groups of the Caribbean;
The constitution of a performing Arts company (Kalalú-Danza's company)
and a Carnival band with community participation;
Research, and participation towards the Carnival;
Workshops directed to enhance the professional quality and the revenues
of tourism oriented folklore groups
As Kalalú-Danza does not receive permanent external funding
it was decided that, to help attain financial sustainability of those activities,
Kalalú-Danza had to design a project that would allow financial
income through offering Afro Caribbean dance and percussion workshops
for foreign groups. This project: designed at the end of 1996:
aims to a build up a cultural destination, offering afro Caribbean dance
& music workshops but also integrates ecological awareness, environmental
other activities as natural medicine workshops, history and culture classes,
arts exchange programs, etc.
the site is set to be within a rural community in east Dom. Rep as Kalalú-Danza
already work with communities, original-folklore groups, and has set up
its main development area in this particular region.
its design involves work with the community families mainly for the housing
and some other services
has strong ecological & social sustainability aspects or concerns.
For a full description of this project you can read:
Kalalú-Danza's exploratory activities
In the framework of this project Kalalú-Danza:
conducted a series of interviews and research contacts on what did exists
in terms of offer of cultural, ecological and alternative tourism, attended
some "ecotourism" events, and began building a database on eco-cultural-integral
tourism projects in Dominican Rep. Haiti and Cuba;
established several contacts with Haitian groups interested in the same
kind of project and began designing a
training workshop for families housing management to be held in Haiti
in benefit of animators and selected group of families.
The project was not concretized, because two contacted Haitian institutions,
had to re-orient their activities, due to the difficult conditions in this
established a direct contact with a French association YEMAYA, which travels
twice a year to Cuba's National School of Arts, and set up a workshop
program for a French group to be held in February 1998. This workshop
is finally reported to be held in November 1999;
began to market the workshops towards Spanish
travel operators and dance associations.
In this process several elements were identified while promoting
those dance and music workshops:
our main limit is access to commercialization and promotion channels; and
no local travel operator or agent were interested in small alternative
destinations with limited capacity;
in Europe every travel agent got very (more?) interested by one line at
the end of our brochure that said: "will provide preferential access and
reservations with alternative and ecotourism offer providers to complete
This is when we developed the idea of commercializing the island's
alternative & ecotourism offer and started a "offer" oriented database
and some contacts lead to the definition and KAD project.
The Caribbean ecotourism (cangonet)
On another side Yacine Khelladi, co-founder of Kalalú-Danza,
besides being a cultural project manager is a consultant in the area of
Information Technologies, especially applied to development project. As
a member and employee of the Network and
Development Foundation - Funredes he managed in 1996, a short term
virtual conference project e-conference on ecological and agricultural
tourism as a complement of a "real" conference held in Martinique organized
by a semi-public (French/Antilles), the ADEP
After the seminar he decided to keep alive, as a personal research project,
this virtual space, to discuss "alternative,
integral, ecological and cultural tourism" issues in the Caribbean with
agreement of all partners (ADEP,
and the University of York CERLAC who
provides the listserv technical facility) .
For more information and a rich archive access, visit the Cangonet page
Actually (January 1999) this forum gathers around 40 people as in the
Private tourism firms
Other or unknown
|Other Caribbean Islands
Kalalú-Danza and the Fundación Cultural
Kalalú-Danza is also member of a larger institution that aims
to participate in the rebuilding of the Dominican identity and acting/thinking
on the development & culture relation, the Fundación Cultural
In the "alternative tourism" field Bayahonda has a pre project no yet
submitted to the Dominican Sec. of Tourism to work with original/folklore
groups and doing so build an alternative, to the low quality mass consumed
culture for tourist in Dom. Rep, looking for positive effects on the communities.
We actively participate in Bayahonda's activities such as "the Island
Festival" (first edition in 1998) "artistas por el gaga" (6 editions since
1994) and the first ever original "roots" music recording " Serie Música
<back to the Kiskeya Alternative Destination
References in this page:
© Fundación Taigüey 1999-2000
| Kiskeya Alternative Destination
this URL http://kiskeya-alternative.org/descrip-eng.html
Last Update 18 March 1999