The Uakari Lodge & Community-Based Tourism
The Uakari Lodge is an internationally recognized pioneering example of community-based ecotourism. It was developed in the late 1990's to provide visitors to Brazil's Mamirau Sustainable Development Reserve with an ecotourism experience demonstrating the value of the local population's involvement in rainforest conservation. The Institute for Sustainable Development Mamirau (ISDM), supported by Brazil's Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, owns the Uakari Lodge. The Institute, in collaboration with eleven local communities, jointly operated the lodge. In the face of serious external challenges, while delivering social and environmental benefits in the region, the management of the Lodge has struggled to achieve profitability. After 15 years of operation, the management of the ISDM is planning the transferal of ownership and responsibility for operation of the Uakari Lodge to the local communities involved in the program. The management of the Institute sought to increase the role of the communities in the co-management efforts, both in terms of benefits received and responsibilities. In order to set the stage for smoothly turning over complete ownership and operations of the Lodge, management is seeking to achieve steady, predictable profitability for the Lodge. Achieving that goal will require increasing visitation to the lodge or increasing the profit margin generated per visitor or some combination of both.