Sustainable Tourism Plan for the Rio Bravo Region of Mexico

10/2012 to 6/2013

Program Goal / Need:
The communities of Boquillas, Jaboncillos, and Norias, Mexico are located in one of the most remote regions of North America along the U.S. – Mexico border. With a rich history, unique culture, and beautiful surrounding landscape, these communities have traditionally been a popular place for tourists from nearby Big Bend National Park to visit, and tourism has traditionally been their primary source of revenue. But when the Boquillas border crossing closed in 2002, tourism arrivals declined significantly. While the crossing has since been reopened, these communities still suffer from more than a decade of neglect and underdevelopment. A renewed focus on tourism development in the region has the potential to help alleviate some of these problems, but with ecological issues like erosion and natural resource extraction and fear of losing their cultural heritage being serious issues for these communities as well, development must be conducted in a sustainable manner.

Program Description:
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) contracted Solimar to develop a sustainable tourism plan for the community of Boquillas. Solimar implemented tourism development in such a way so as to preserve local culture and conserve natural resources, generating income for the communities. The plan focused on increased organization and professionalism through training and assistance in product development, new and improved tourism products and services that give visitors a chance to leave money behind that creates jobs and income, and increased awareness and support of local residents in protecting the region’s natural and cultural resources as a vital part of their local tourism economy.

Program Results:

Assessed supply of and demand for tourism products in Boquillas and neighboring areas.

Created a sustainable tourism business plan for “Discover Boquillas”.

Delivered Tourism Enterprise Development Training program.

Established social media channels for Discover Boquillas, including a blog and Facebook page.