The Sierra Gorda Ecological Group (GESGIAP) in Sierra Gorda, Mexico, has been announced as the benefactor of a grant from the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that will provide funding necessary to turn the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve of northern Queretaro State (www.queretaro.travel) into a world-class tourism destination.
In 2008 it received the Tourism for Tomorrow Award of the World Travel & Tourism Council. Currently, the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve is a high-priority conservation area in Mexico due to its rich biodiversity and high degree of conservation. Although rich in natural resources, the area is made up of predominantly rural landholders in 600 communities facing economic problems as well as lack of employment opportunities.
The funding for the “Sustainable Tourism in Sierra Gorda” project will enable for innovative mechanisms to be installed to reduce rural poverty, while assisting the end of deforestation, preservation of diverse ecosystems and species and allowing for rehabilitation of degraded areas and sustainable management of natural resources. The project will directly benefit about 100 small to medium sized businesses including hotels, restaurants, tour guides, travel agencies and tourist services, five municipalities and the local communities by contributing to the development of an economy in rural communities in naturally protected areas of Mexico with the purpose of creating a model of rural tourism in the Sierra Gorda region. For more information, visit www.sierragorda.net or www.visitmexico.com.