"Just last year alone some 733,000 individuals carried ecotourism, an activity which promotes the conservation and sustainability of natural resources, as well as the inclusion and active participation of the local populations," Canatur explained. Ecotourism in Costa Rica generated earnings of $986 million in 2007 and the development of rural tourism has fostered opportunities for local communities to experience economic growth and job creation, the Chamber pointed out.
More and better roads in the district of Capira have facilitated the conversion of more than 65 farms into rural tourism destinations.
In the past four years this business has grown substantially due to the construction of new roads in the area. "... There are 25 farms in Capira accredited by the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA), while another 40 are still undergoing restructuring," said the head of the program for Agritourism in the west of Panama, Ruby Hidalgo to Prensa.com.
The course is given entirely over the Internet using the Virtual Classroom teaching model established and recognized by the Educational Portal of the Americas.
The Organization of American States (OAS), via the Educational Portal of the Americas (www.educoas.org), and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), via its Distance Training Center (CECADI), are currently training the first 96 participants of the "Agro-eco-tourism: Basic elements for implementing an innovative tourism project" course. The group is made up of citizens form various member countries of the OAS and include those individuals from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Barbados, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, United States, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Uruguay y Venezuela.
Panama is seeking to develop agro-tourism and incorporate tourism activities related to the agricultural sector, thereby improving rural tourism.
To successfully implement the agro-tourism plan in the country, some agreements of cooperation have been signed with the Agronomy Faculty of the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and with the National Learning Service of Colombia which have experience in coffee farming.
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