Month: December 2014

Getting micro-enterprises out of a jam

Jam project, Mexico, local communityIt is the 5 year anniversary of our Jungle Jams project and we’ve seen some startling results:

By mid 2014, the Maya women had sold a total of 7,793kg of jam products, generating a total income of £57,597 since the start of the project in 2009.

“I remember our meeting with the Travel Foundation back then (autumn 2008), when the Travel Foundation presented their work plan saying that by the end of 2009 we will be achieving commercial links with the Azul Sensatori… we said yes, but we thought this was going to be another broken dream, it took us a while to realise we are living a dream.” Homobona Dzul (Ema)

TUI UK and Ireland sponsored the project for four years between 2009 and 2012. The jam-makers received training and capacity building to support product development, marketing, infrastructure and business development, and the creation of new supply chain linkages. The group is now running a successful micro-enterprise.

Since the project has ended the business has continued to thrive. They have had an average annual growth rate of 13.5% and Jam sales have generated an average of £16,000 each year compared to an average of £300 pre-project. The group has also negotiated contracts with several more large hotels.

“I’ve been saving money from the jams profit, thanks to that I was able to purchase 608 bricks to build a house in a nearby town (Felipe Carrillo Puerto) so my sons will have a place to stay when they move there to study a degree, I need to work hard as in just three years the oldest one will be in junior high!”  María Caamal

With increased confidence, the group have been growing their businesses by presenting at events and trade fairs (Latin American Food Shows 2011 & 2012, Sustainable Tourism Expo 2012-2014, Women’s Rights conference 2014,) and challenging traditional gender roles within their families and the wider community.

Jungle Jams, Mexico

Read more about the Jungle Jams project > 

Watch the video of jam-making in action >


Recipe for a Thai Scoping Trip

Thailand_Andaman Discoveries

In November, two members of the Travel Foundation team headed to Thailand to conduct research into a potential new programme of activities. Below Melissa Bellamy and Suzannah Newham have provided the recipe for their scoping trip…


  • 1 destination (the stunning Andaman Coast – Phuket and Phang Nga)
  • 2 flights (on the Thomson Dreamliner)
  • 3 hotels
  • 14 thunderstorms
  • 1148km driven (1130 by car and 18 by bike, in rain and shine)
  • 1 trek in flip flops (to see the ‘Big Tree’)
  • 1 trek in smart work shoes (to see a waterfall in Khao Lak National Park)
  • 5 different types of boat (speedboats, a local commuter boat, ferry boat, long tail boats and kayaks)
  • 72 contacts (including representatives from Andaman Discoveries, Centara, Destination Services, Hotel Beds, IUCN, JW Marriott, Khiri Travel, Khao Lak National Park, Phuket Adventures, Phuket Marine Biological Research Centre, Phuket Nature Tours, Sensi-Mar, Thaimueang Community Based Tourism group, Thaimueang National Park, TUI, Wild Asia, WWF-Thailand, as well as some key individuals and a variety of local communities).

Step 1

While in Thailand, combine all ingredients at 30 degrees (the average November temperature in Phuket) and allow to sweat in 85% humidity for approximately 2 weeks. Add a pinch of humour and a good dusting of inspiration, to taste.

Thailand - Dragon BoatsStep 2

Back in the UK, blend trip findings together and allow to marinate for a further few weeks. Skim impurities to reveal a clearer, cleaner final concept.

Step 3

Turn out a focused set of objectives.

Roll these out across 4 key areas (solid waste management in hotels, beach management and turtle protection, carrying capacities for hot spots within national parks, best practice in marine excursions).

The outcome of this recipe will be available on the Travel Foundation website in early 2015.Thailand_MelissaSusie