Community Tourism Strategy

The community-based tourism project emerged in 2017 as an extension to the Artesania para el Bienestar- concept upon the recognition that in order for the concept to generate enough for health emergencies, people must in the first place come to El 20 to buy handcrafts. During that same year, several workshops were organized together with locals, producing encouraging results: the people of El 20 see potential in sharing their way of living with tourists in a way that contributes to the values they deem most important to their lives. Amongst themselves, the locals voted four main values which they see as important to be included in the community tourism strategy: water, children, health and nature. Here, the linkages between all sub-projects started to become clearer.

During 2018, the teams continued the groundwork by diving deeper into the context of El 20 to determine facilitating conditions and challenges to developing community tourism with the support of a literature review of similar case studies. It was learned that there are many qualities of El 20 which support the development of community tourism, these include high motivation, the natural and cultural attractiveness, variety of activities, as well as leadership initiated by the El 20 Tourism Committee. Simultaneously, several challenges were also identified, mainly relating to fragmented participation, limited external communication, variations in individual capacity and incomplete infrastructure.

The next step to this project is tying all of this together by designing a fitting strategy tailored specifically for El 20. The key in developing this strategy is that tourism development will be guided by the needs and values of the community in order to ensure true empowerment, a process which will be a collaboration between El 20, ALM and local partners

 

Sustainable Community Tourism Strategy 

and its potential contributions to life in El 20

Economic Security

Environmental Sustainability

Cultural Heritage

Health Security

Sustainable Community Tourism Strategy

As a whole, the tourism strategy aims at diversifying the economic activities of El 20. It adds to the sustainable forestry and apiculture; but in the future, when the agricultural land is insufficient due to population growth, community tourism might be their main source of income. ALM still needs to develop a method to estimate the carrying capacity of the community in terms of sustainable tourism. 

Having determined that, this is a means through which the people of El 20 can earn an income for  sustaining themselves and their forests.  

This strategy is called community tourism because the most special thing that people of El 20 have to share with the world is their culture, expressed in their food, their construction methods, their livelihood, their language, and their values (among others). The Sustainable Community Tourism Strategy is also a means to increase the financial capital of the community, which could help them secure sufficient funds to maintain their Community based health care fund. 

Website

By having their website, the community could promote itself and attract more visitors.  By reaching out to the world, the community might receive donations to help take care of their forests.  The website could help with the “mirror effect”. That is, if people from far off places express appreciation for El 20’s ways of doing and living, people of El 20 might notice that small and ordinary things are much more special than they thought.

Map

It is difficult for people who live far away to get interested in visiting El 20 if they do not know how to get there and how. The accurate and detailed map of El 20 and its surrounding region might help them attract more visitors. An accurate map that is available might be very useful in case of emergencies. 

Attractions and activities

ALM team has identified different potential attractions and activities that can be offered to the visitors; these could be offered alone or in packages, depending on how long someone stays. These include: Rio Bec archaeological site, walk through the jungle, bird watching, visiting the artisan workshops, learning how to make some crafts, visiting the meliponario, and swimming in the river among others. It is important to control the environmental impact of these activities and keep it at the lowest possible. Also, these activities can have a pedagogical dimension; visitors can learn how to protect the jungle. By receiving visitors who are interested in their Mayan livelihood, people of El 20 might be further encouraged to preserve it.   

Services

(Accommodation and food, see La Casita Complex)

 

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