“Ahete* – Network of Sustainable Tourism” was formally registered on November 15, 2015. This non-profit NGO has the vision of converting Venezuela into a destination for sustainable, reliable, and productive tourism. Considering those who initially formed the association and who have since jumped on the bandwagon, there is little doubt that Ahete will accomplish its five initial ambitious objectives (and many more!): to motivate and support its members in improving community relations, form and train members and other interested parties, create a seal of quality, promote sustainable tourism in Venezuela, create plans and project in favor of sustainable tourism in the country.
In March of 2015, the founding members started meeting to address concerns of the tourism industry. More than just “talking about them”, they hit the ground running, initiating and processing the results of surveys to determine concerns. Based on these results, by July, they were convinced of the dire need to form an organization to take concrete action and defined their mission statement, vision, objectives, the type of members to conform the extended group and legal name. By the end of September those points had been decided, the organization chart established, ways of financing the effort, cost of membership, and time frame established to legally register the organization.
The founding members make up the first Board of Directors: President – Juan Carlos Guinand (WAO Turismo), Vice-president – Valentina Quintero (journalist specializing in tourism), General Secretary – Lucía Coll (Climbing Venezuela), Treasurer – Oscar Hernández (Viaja Verde), Board Members – José Luis Troconis (Natoura), Alfredo Autiero, Roberto Picón (ZOI Venezuela), William Rivera (Ayupaina Tours), and Andrea Pérez (Eposak).
In the assembly held three days prior to the formal registry of Ahete, others who enthusiastically joined in the meeting and signed up to be on committees, demonstrating the great interest and wide scope of the group, included: Desirée Starke (ATB Birds), Henry Linares (Akanan), Rafael González (ASOGUIVEN), Carmen Cabello and Marieta Hernández (Audubon), Max Baena (Aventur), Mariolaim González and Pedro Lovera (Cacao Tours). Oscar Muñoz (CEMAG), Daniel Vocino (Circuito de la Excelencia), Daniel Macedo (Climbing Venezuela), Maritza Araujo and Andrés Reggeti (Estancia La Cañada), Josselin Esparza (FET), Alonso Camarco (INVETUR), Luis Vidal (OVETUDA), Patricia Tintori (Soy Tu Guia), Pablo Theis (Venelands), Alejandro González (Venezuela Elite), Ricardo Muñoz (Viaja Verde), and Gerhard Wielheim (Zona Radical).
Without a doubt, Ahete is on the road to sustainable success!
*In the language of the primitive Yanomami Indians of Venezuela’s southern Amazonas state, Ahete means come closer.