The Agrotouristic Rural Association of Montijo (ARAM) wins its first Clean Production prize

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For their effort, dedication and wanting to do things right by promoting responsible tourism, the Agrotouristic Rural Association of Montijo (ARAM) received its first "Award for Technological Innovation in Cleaner Production" -environmental award given by the National Environmental Authority (ANAM) in its 11th version 2013-, for the investment in efficient outboard engines, and tourist transportation services at the Gulf of Montijo and Chiriqui to avoid and minimize the generation of waste fuels and increased efficiency lubricants, especially promoting good practices.

Who are they?

They are more than 19 men, including captains and owners of vessels (mostly speedboats), who reside in the community of Montijo, Veraguas, and whose interest in improving their quality of life and promote responsible tourism, has focused them on improving the quality of service they offer as marine transportation boatmen to ecological protected areas like Coiba National Park and parts of the Gulf of Montijo. Therefore they created the Agrotouristic Rural Association of Montijo (ARAM) in 2010.

This is how these 19 partners, who have over 14 years working in tourism, have been investing in newer, more efficient and environmental friendly engines, in order to improve their market competitiveness, decreasing high fuel costs that they had to face in their operations, and which now makes them worthy of their first recognition.

The winning proposal

ARAM partners applied to the ANAM environmental awards competition by improving their registration systems and input control, scheduling activities and cleaning of the equipment. For example, with the investment in four-stroke engines and electronic fuel injection, the fuel and outboard oil is no longer necessary and savings are made on disposal of oil and container. Fuel consumption was reduced by 33%, 87 gallons are needed on average for working, and the noise levels of the new engines are lower, allowing them to converse with the engine running and producing less discomfort for the client as well as noise impact on the ecosystems they visit. Besides, 4-stroke engines are more ecological and modern, and comply with international emission standards.

In total we could estimate that the initiative promoted by ARAM, which earned them the award for cleaner production, has reduced gross costs for the amount of $ 18.900, has avoided the use of outboard oil containers (750) and has reduced the use of hydrocarbons by more than 3,700 gallons.

MarViva provides accompaniment

MarViva Foundation –located at the City of Knowledge- is pleased and committed to promoting the efforts and initiatives of ARAM, who have been participating in training processes with cleaner production tools provided by our organization, in partnership with the National Environmental Authority, as part of the project: Development of Sustainable Economic Alternatives and Conservation Strategies in Marine Areas of the Gulf of Chiriqui.

In addition, as a sustainable tourism alternative, with strategic partners such as the Aquatic Resources Authority and the Tourism Authority of Panama, MarViva has managed to train many of the boatmen of ARAM in cetacean watching and worked with them in a program named "Responsible Cetacean Watching", making them one of the first guides with training in this area, which has allowed them to improve their service quality.

For MarViva the fact that these boatmen have expanded their vision of best practices, to ensure the most sustainable use of marine and coastal resources in the Gulfs of Chiriqui and Montijo -their areas of work-, it is a great example and recognition motif.

We are aware that currently tourist boatmen in the area of Montijo and Santa Catalina (with similar equipment) move up to 45% of all visits to Coiba National Park (estimated at 8,000 visitors per year). This is an activity that occurs mainly during the summer, and to a lesser extent the other months, and with these good practices they will continue to promote a sustainable use of resources, one of the main objectives of MarViva Foundation.