Kiskeya Alternative

project presentation, genesis and antecedents
(March 99)

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Kiskeya is, along with Ayiti and Bohio, a Taino indian name
for the island that is today shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti.


© Kalalu-Danza 1999 | email:  | Main Page

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 process;
  • bring direct financial benefits to the community and/or bring resources for the community development (infrastructures, education, organization skills, etc.)
  • 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 necessary criteria.

    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 is not sustainable when:


    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 this project.

    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:
    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 tourism:
    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 sustainable tourism.
    First, we have identified the potential of the new information and communication technologies to:
    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:
    How? This project will develop it activities on three main axes: Internet promotion and marketing: Electronic commerce

    We plan to:

      Cooperative Network

    We intend to gather actors in a cooperative and decentralized network:

    Research Consortium on Electronic Commerce and Sustainable Tourism
    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
    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 profitable business.

    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 !
    The Kiskeya 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 that were:

    Kalalú-Danza's exploratory activities in 1997

    In the framework of this project Kalalú-Danza:

    The Caribbean ecotourism (cangonet) electronic  forum

    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, Funredes, and the University of York CERLAC who provides the listserv technical facility) .

    For more information and a rich archive access, visit the Cangonet page at

    Actually (January 1999) this forum gathers around 40 people as in the following table:

    Private tourism firms
    Other or unknown
    Dominican Rep.
    Other Caribbean Islands  
    Central America    
    South America  
    Other countries

    Kalalú-Danza and the Fundación Cultural Bayahonda

    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 Bayahonda.

    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 Raíz

    <back to the Kiskeya Alternative Destination page>

    References in this page:

    © Fundación Taigüey 1999-2000 | Kiskeya Alternative Destination | email: KAD

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     Last Update 18 March 1999