The Chocolate Road
Our first big project and the sweet inducement for founding destination:development is the Chocolate Road in Bolivia.
Tourism & Chocolate – both without any bitter aftertaste – that is our challenge.
We already have most of the ingrediants to this sweet recipy: high quality organic cocoa, carefully grown and fairly traded by the farmers of the El Ceibo cooperative; well groomed cocoa plantations inviting you to relax a while or to roll up your sleeves and get to work; truly unique and breathtaking landscapes waiting to be explored; warm hearted and generous people who long for sharing their knowledge and cultures with you; and last but not least, delicious recipies with chocolate produce which want to be tried out and tasted. The only ingredients still missing are know-how in the field of tourism and – as always – the necessary financial resources.
This is where destination:development comes into the picture. We took heart and tackled the problem, because one thing we do have in abundance is know-how. However, in order to apply it purposefully and adequately, we needed to travel to Bolivia and asses the situation on-site. The respective budget was raised by crowdfunding. We are very happy and a little proud too, that our crowdfunding campaign in the summer of 2015 – initiated with the video abobve – was very successful. Thanks to our crowd we could exceed our goal and reach 129% of the minimum amount, which allowed us to take the first steps towards the destination Chocolate Road together with the farmers of El Ceibo in Bolivia. You can find more details about our crowdfunding campaign, stories and pictures from our journey as well as project updates on our blog and facebook page.
If you missed our crowdfunding camapign and would still like to contribute, no problem. You still have the opportunity to support the cocoa farmers and their families and become part of the project by either making a direct donation (paypal button) or by getting in touch with us and ask what we need, because there are many more ways to contribute than money. We are happy about every new member joining our crowd.
Our partner, the El Ceibo cooperative, is one of the most successful agricultural cooperatives. Since its foundation in 1977 it has been striving for almost 4 decades to improve their members’ living conditions and opportunities. In 2012, after long considerations, the decision was made to enter the tourism business and create a theme road about cocoa – the Chocolate Road. Since then, a comprehensive design and project planning process is under way and research has been done – in Bolivia as well as in Austria.
After our journey to Bolivia, our next concrete steps were the distribution of the rewards for our backers, which we had brought over. At the same time, we were entering the final stages of setting up a project plan. Time was running fast, since we needed to deliver a comprehensive project plan and product design for the Chocolate Road – including budget, requirement analyses and job specifications – by 30 November 2015, so the Board Members of El Ceibo would have time to prepare for the presentation of the plan to the General Assembly held in December, 2015 which was to finally adopt the Chocolate Road project. Unfortunately, resources are still scarce, and chocolate production has to be a priority when it comes to investment decisions. However, together with the newly elected Board, continue our mutual efforts to obtain the necessary resources in order to establish and inaugurate a first lean prototype-version of the tourism product The Chocolate Road – the development of the destination as we imagnine it and are aiming for, will be a long term and continuous process.
Of course we will also kept our promise to produce a short documentary about the first steps towards building the Chocolate Road and our encounters with the farmers of El Ceibo in Bolivia. We were working hard on managing the premiere in June 2016. After a VIP opening night for our sponsors, we made the documentary available for everyone on our website and on Youtube. For all of you who could not wait until the film was ready, we have continuously provided some pictures and updates in our gallery and on our Facebook page and hope you enjoyed the journey.
Now the time for implementation has come, and we invite you to a little sneak preview. Join us and stay tuned!