Do you know what value is generated by an exchange of community tourism experiences?
From September 11 to 16, 2022 La Mano del Mono participated in the exchange of experiences and knowledge of organizations that carry out nature tourism activities in the Yucatan Peninsula, as host, and where community groups from Oaxaca and Jalisco, as well as from Guatemala (Peten region) attended.
The above within the framework of the Project led and financed by the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) - Mexico: "Strengthening the Resilience of Communities that depend on Nature Tourism in the face of the impact of the COVID19 Pandemic"; in which we have been participating as partners since June 2021.
During the meeting, the knowledge and work tools developed by the company were transferred to the Peninsular Alliance for Community Tourism (APTC) on networking, recovery strategy and collaborative certification.
A total of 27 people attended, including representatives of community groups, GIZ (Mexico and Guatemala), the technical team (APTC and La Mano del Mono), the Guatemalan Institute of Tourism (INGUAT), the National Commission of Protected Areas of Guatemala (CONAP), Tour & Travel Guatemala, the Association of Forest Communities of the Petén (ACOFOP), meeting facilitators and the driver.
As a result, recovery strategies were designed for the participating regions; the implementation of biosecurity protocols for COVID-19 was recognized, based on the collaborative and participatory certification of the APTC; and practical tools for the formation of regional alliances were transmitted.
The route of the tour was carried out by visiting eight social enterprises that are part of the APTC, where resilient communities have been created where a recovery process is implemented based on:
- a) Impact and needs assessment.
- b) Creation of a recovery strategy.
- c) And obtaining the Collaborative Certification by means of the seal "Travel safe and in solidarity, travel community tourism".
We had the opportunity to travel to six locations, each with characteristic landscapes of the Yucatan Peninsula, where we learned about different organizational structures that involve a broad spectrum of work from the social and solidarity economy.
The first day we were welcomed at the Río Lagartos Xplore cooperative, in the town of the same name, where we took a boat tour through the mangroves, and they explained to us that it is an enterprise led by member Henry Pat and his family, in an area made popular by the pink pools produced by the salt ponds.
Later we visited U Kuchil Kuxtal, a cooperative in Ek Balam that manages cabins and offers various community tours within walking distance of the archaeological site of the same name. It is important to mention that both of these cooperatives are part of the Co'ox Mayaba union of cooperatives dedicated to tourism in the state of Yucatán.
We arrived at Chunyaxché, near Tulúm, where we visited Community Tours Sian Ka'an, a project with an important influx. Later we visited the tourist project "Sijil Noh Ha" in Felipe Carrillo Puerto; an ejido famous for its organizational form and struggle for the land, located in front of a lagoon system of great value.
Finally, we visited two other cooperatives, one in the town of Conhuas called Camp Yaax'Che, famous for being close to the emblematic Calakmul Biosphere Reserve. The last destination was Isla Arena where we talked with members of two cooperatives, Wotoch Aayin and Centro Ecoturístico Carey.
In each place we connected with the landscapes, fauna and archaeological sites, twinned with the Mayan zone of Guatemala. We admired the starry sky, the sounds of undisturbed nature, tasted delicious local cuisine, and lived with wonderful people who introduced us to their forms of organization and community tourism work.
We were also able to collect the stories of the participants, with the aim of sharing the processes of community-based tourism in relation to local livelihoods. We will be sharing these experiences with you through our social networks.
And very importantly, the objective of transmitting knowledge and management tools was achieved, with a view to strengthening community-based tourism and nature practices in the participating groups.
Contact us if you are interested in learning more about this great experience!
Written by: Karla Alejandra Rivera Del Aguila, Project Coordinator at LMDM