Business development training

Fishermen were invited to monthly workshops focused on building capacity regarding business and tourism management. These included hospitality management, safety, and basic understanding of English. Manta ray conservation status and data collection was also incorporated in these meetings. Local professionals (e.g. Coast Guard, Tourism authorities, etc.) were invited to give presentations, showcasing local knowledge. Meetings also encouraged fishermen to design their own business plans and strategies to implement ecotourism services, and enabled the selection of the most committed fishermen who would receive funding and personalized support.

  • A group of fishermen interested in participating was identified through project outreach and general introductory workshops.
  • Local infrastructure (e.g. space for meetings, local field coordinator) was in place for the series of meetings.
  • Commitment to participate in these meetings was required; therefore, observed participation constituted a ‘self-selecting’ mechanism to identify which fishermen to be support.
  • As strategies for ecotourism are defined together with fishermen, it is important to consider external factors that could influence the project, e.g. conflict between fishermen’s organizations, etc.
  • Although in some cases only captains participated in the workshops, it is also important for all crew members to receive training and be aware of the project.