Through multiple 2-day intensive trainings, men and women llama farmers from 8 Andean communities living in extreme poverty, will gain the skills to provide sustainable eco-friendly pack services with their llamas to tour operators which operate in their communities and demand pack services to transport camping materials but have systematically marginalized the local population due to their lack of training in tourism services. Trainees will then share gained skills in their communities.
Despite the growing tourism, over 3400 high-Andean community members of the Urubamba Mountain Range continue to live in extreme poverty due to lack of access to work and training opportunities. Local families traditionally have llamas, which are native, eco-friendly animals ideal for pack labor, but due to historical reasons their quality has deteriorated so tour operators prefer mules instead, which they bring from other areas causing ecosystem degradation and no work opportunities.
Trainings allow llama farmers to gain skills to improve their llamas and access fair income by providing an organized, eco-friendly pack service. Overgrazing and ecosystem degradation allows community members to have only 3-5 mules per family, which is not enough to fulfill the demand for pack animals for tourism as very few families own mules. However they can have between 40-100 llamas. A healthy well bred llama can carry almost as much as a mule, without the negative impact on the ecosystem.
If a llama farmer provides pack services for 12 days per month every month, under their guidelines, he or she will have enough income to get all their family (4.5 members average) out of economic poverty. Additionally artisans and cooks can provide extra services, triplicating the impact. Plus, by replacing the use of exotic mules which degrade our fragile mountain ecosystems by native, eco-friendly llamas, impact of tourism is reduced, generating a sustainable management of tourism and nature.