The Government of Dominican Republic (GODR) has long promoted the tourism industry by attracting and utilizing foreign capital. However, tourists seldom step out from resort hotels in the country because most facilities for tourists, so called all-inclusive resort hotels, have their own shops and restaurants. A case in point is the Province of Puerto Plata, the third largest tourist destination in the Dominican Republic, where local residents receive limited benefits from the tourism industry.
JICA commissioned IC Net to carry out the Sustainable Tourism based on Public-Private Partnership project which establishes a new framework whereby local residents became its main drivers of tourism development.
During this project, IC Net formed working groups in each of the nine municipalities in the Province of Puerto Plata, which included representatives from local governments, NGOs, civic organizations, local companies and other participants from the public and private sectors. IC Net facilitated groups to identify natural and cultural resources and its marketing of them. This public-private partnership with residents playing a central role gave the Puerto Plata area a new type of appeal for tourists. This process also gave local residents a renewed sense of pride of their hometown.
This project was expected to help establish a win-win relationship for residents and hotels. In March 2012, this project received the Puerto Plata Outstanding Achievement Award, which is given to the organization that makes the greatest contribution to the Province of Puerto Plata. Receiving this honor had galvanized the beneficiaries of this project.