Livelihoods in Sustainable Tourism: Measurement and Outcomes

impact story the monkey's hand
viviana vasque duque
Viviana Vasquez

In seeking to understand and evaluate how the Market Ready Strengthening Program is generating an impact on the businesses and livelihoods of the destinations, an objective and quantitative measurement tool has been developed. This tool makes it possible to analyze the impact through six specific indicators: Natural Capital, Human Capital, Social Capital, Physical Capital, Financial Capital and Time Capital, with the aim of validating and adapting this methodology to different territorial realities and socioeconomic and environmental contexts. 

The prototype was conducted in Guatemala, Mexico (Jalisco and Oaxaca). Based on the results, improvements were made to the survey design, to be formally implemented in Jalisco, Oaxaca and Guatemala during December 2022.

Strengthening Livelihoods in Sustainable Tourism

Livelihood impact measurements were conducted in Mexico and Guatemala. In Mexico, 11 nature tourism enterprises were assessed in the Sierra de Juarez, Oaxaca, and the Sierra Occidental de Jalisco. A total of 25 surveys were collected, 15 in Oaxaca and 11 in Jalisco. In terms of origin, 57.7% of respondents were from Oaxaca and 42% were from Jalisco. In terms of gender, 57.6% were female and 42.3% were male. Respondents represent diverse ages, educational levels and roles in tourism.

On the other hand, in Guatemala, 12 nature tourism enterprises in Petén were evaluated. A total of 34 surveys were collected, all from Guatemala without differentiation by state. In terms of gender, 65% of the respondents were female and 35% were male. As in the case of Mexico, respondents spanned different ages, educational levels and roles in tourism.


The results reveal significant challenges in human and social livelihoods in both Mexico and Guatemala. On the one hand, there is a lack of effective transmission of traditional crafts to new generations, and on the other hand, indigenous languages are in decline or even disappearing in the communities. In addition, migration continues to be a constant phenomenon, and the problem of alcoholism and drug addiction can have a negative impact on the community.

In terms of natural, financial and physical capital, the values provided by respondents suggest that the territories have abundant biodiversity, diverse sources of employment and adequate conditions for access to health and safety.

These findings underscore the importance of continuing to implement strategies and actions to strengthen human and social livelihoods in tourist destinations. It is essential to encourage the transmission of knowledge and traditions, as well as to promote training and education programs that contribute to preserving local culture.

It is important that local communities have access to education, tourism-related training and the internet, so that they can develop the necessary skills and knowledge to enable them to actively participate in the tourism industry in a sustainable manner.

About the Market Ready Model: 

In the exciting world of tourism destinations, companies have a clear objective: to be prepared to attract visitors and offer them unforgettable and sustainable experiences. But this goes beyond simply generating profits. It is about contributing to the well-being of local communities and the regeneration of the surrounding nature and culture. This is where the Market Ready Model comes in, a platform that has revolutionized the way adventure and experiential tourism companies and destinations strengthen their capabilities.

From La Mano del Mono we provide the model Market ReadyWe focus on driving the growth and success of tourism companies. How do we achieve this? Through a combination of innovative, replicable and scalable tools and methodologies that adapt to the specific needs of each destination and market. Our goal is to strengthen the preparedness and sustainability of companies, providing certainty in local and global commercial channels, and maximizing the efforts and investments of key players in the destination.

By implementing the Market Ready Model, we focus on preparing companies to be market ready, with the capacity to generate positive impacts in the destinations in which they operate. In addition, we encourage the creation of meaningful partnerships with other companies, trade allies and destination managers. We strongly believe in the power of collaboration and cooperation to drive joint success.

It is important to emphasize that it is not only about driving sustainable business performance, but also about protecting and conserving the nature and culture of tourist destinations. We are deeply concerned about the impact our actions have on the environment and local communities. That is why we constantly measure the results and impacts of our activities, both at the business level and in the destination as a whole. This allows us to make informed decisions and adjust our strategies to maximize benefits and minimize any negative impacts.

The program encourages the development of tourism experiences in companies that incorporate local traditions in a comprehensive manner, promoting the use of technologies and reducing the digital divide. It also actively seeks to involve young people and women in the field of tourism experiences.

We are proud to see how companies and destinations have successfully adopted the Market Ready Model. Thanks to their participation, commitment and resilience, they have increased their business potential and impact. 

Together, we will create collaborative certainty in the tourism value chain, enabling us to contribute effectively to the Sustainable Development Goals. We are committed to continue working hand in hand with businesses and destinations to achieve sustainable tourism and a better future for all.

This study was carried out thanks to the support of GIZ Mexico and financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Its commitment to sustainable development and its support for initiatives that promote responsible tourism are worthy of recognition.