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Title: Indigenous ecotourism in preserving and empowering Mayan natural and cultural values at Palenque, Mexico

Author: Mendoza-Ramos, Adrian; Zeppel, Heather;

Date: 2011

Source: In: Watson, Alan; Murrieta-Saldivar, Joaquin; McBride, Brooke, comps. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Ninth World Wilderness Congress symposium; November 6-13, 2009; Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Proceedings RMRS-P-64. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 27-33.

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Indigenous ecotourism in the Mayan Area has gone virtually unmentioned in the literature. As a result of the course of tourism in the Mayan Area, this study assessed the level of empowerment in the Mayan communities surrounding a major archaeological site and tourism attraction of the Classic Maya: Palenque, in Mexico. The empowerment framework was used to assess whether or not tourism develops in terms that ultimately benefit the local communities economically, psychologically, politically, socially, and environmentally. A checklist of empowerment indicators identified from the literature were tested and contrasted with the interviews conducted with Mayan tourism stakeholders. Results indicate that local indigenous participation in tourism has not easily occurred due to a lack of knowledge of tourism and limited economic resources and negotiation skills, which has significantly disempowered Mayan communities. Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) have not participated in local tourism development until recently and investment from the private tourism sector has not stood out with its presence. The Mexican government is tracing the course of indigenous ecotourism with several support programs. These results form the basis for more effective strategies to maximize involvement of Mayan communities in managing their cultural and natural resources and the tourism on which they depend.

Keywords: wilderness, biodiversity, conservation, protected areas, economics, subsistence, tourism, traditional knowledge, community involvement, policy, stewardship, education, spiritual values, Mayan, indigenous ecotourism

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Mendoza-Ramos, Adrian; Zeppel, Heather. 2011. Indigenous ecotourism in preserving and empowering Mayan natural and cultural values at Palenque, Mexico. In: Watson, Alan; Murrieta-Saldivar, Joaquin; McBride, Brooke, comps. Science and stewardship to protect and sustain wilderness values: Ninth World Wilderness Congress symposium; November 6-13, 2009; Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Proceedings RMRS-P-64. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 27-33.

 


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