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PLANETA Presents 2009 Colibri Ecotourism Award to Pedro Martinez in honor of World Environment Day


Publication Date: June 2009

Pedro Martinez

FLICKR ALBUM: Colibri Award

OAXACA DE JUAREZ, MEXICO -- To celebrate World Environment Day, presents the ninth annual Colibri Ecotourism Award to Pedro Martinez, the owner of a small business in Oaxaca City that has pioneered responsible travel and ecotourism the past 20 years.

"Pedro is an inspiration, a model of the small business entrepreneur who has persevered in creating an enterprise that touches the lives of locals and foreigners," said founder Ron Mader. " His work is outstanding and the contributions he has made to the Rural Tourism Fairs and to improving the editorial content on are good examples of sharing lessons and broadening the appeal of Mexico's rural tourism and ecotourism options."

The Colibri Ecotourism Award recognizes leaders who are at the forefront of innovative measures to protect cultural and natural heritage in Mexico.

"We hope that the Colibri Ecotourism Award gets the word out about Mexico's role in the global movement toward responsible travel and ecotourism," said Emilio Kifuri, award co-sponsor and owner of Canyon Travel -- -- a North American ecotourism operator. "Entrepreneurs like Pedro Martinez lead the way. Literally!"

"This year's Colibri Ecotourism Award recognizes a continuation of Oaxaca's place in fostering innovative and sustainable tourism practices," said Greg Custer, award co-sponsor and Vice President of Destination Ventures -- "The Oaxaca region has for millennia been a wellspring for human cultural advancement. The rest of world should take note."


Colibri means 'Hummingbird' in Spanish and in 2009 the Colibri Award celebrates its ninth anniversary, making this one of the longest-running ecotourism awards. The winner of the annual award receives a trophy, diploma and a $1,000 cash award from Emilio Kifuri, president of Canyon Travel.

"Mexico is one of the world's mega diverse countries and there are many examples where tourism helps educate visitors and provides benefits for rural communities," said Kifuri. "Mexico ought to be at the forefront of the ecotourism movement and if we pay attention to the work that's being done, the word 'ecotourism' will make travelers think of Mexico."

The Colibri Ecotourism Award's co-sponsor, Destination Ventures, contributes directly to to develop supporting projects documenting the winner's work. The company specializes in travel industry education and currently works for the Mexico Tourism Board and United Nations Foundation in promoting sustainable travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Previous winners include Steve Bridger, Gerhard Buttner, Hector Ceballos-Lascurain, Jorge Chàvez de la Peña, Fernando Garcia Aguinaco, Marlene Ehrenberg, Juan Carlos Ibarra, Jennifer Morfín, Antonio Suárez and Francisco Verástegui.

The winner of the award is selected by founder Ron Mader following consultation with previous award winners and colleagues.

CRITERIA presents the Colibri Ecotourism Award to those whose work in Mexico is exemplary and who share what they learn. Good ideas require good work to come to completion and good work needs to be documented so that lessons can be shared.

Nominees participate by helpful edits, connecting using Web 2.0, Planeta Wiki or contribute editorial suggestions for at least a year. Bonus points are given to those who participate on other websites and forums. This is part of's desire to create incentives for communication, collaboration and continuity, all vital elements in the development of responsible travel and ecotourism.


Pedro Martinez wins the 2009 Colibri Ecotourism Award.

Born in El Cabrito la Hermita Ejutla de Crespo, Pedro was raised in the Oaxacan countryside.

Pedro won the state sports award in 1985. He was a member of the national road cycling team from 1985 to 1988. In 1991 he participated in the Duatlón World Championship in California.

Pedro opened his business in 1988 and after three years of running a cycling store began operating tours in 1991.



"Tourists would come to Oaxaca and want to rent a bicycle and they'd look for me," Pedro recalls. "Then a tour operator friend from Ottawa suggested that I offer tours. This idea sparked my interest and helped developed the confidence needed to develop tours."

Pedro credits a number of international contacts for the help needed in making his operation a success. These include Austin - Lehman Adventures (USA), Solana Tours (Mexico) and Joker Tours (Belgium).

Inclusion in the Lonely Planet Guidebook has also been important. "Being featured in Lonely Planet has been an honor," Martinez added. "Foreigners coming to Oaxaca trust this book and feel a sense of security with the operations listed. I am very grateful to the publisher for a book that truly understands how to assist travelers to understand Mexico."

Pedro also has been an active participant in the tourism fairs hosted by in Oaxaca since 2001.

By giving Pedro the award in 2009, the Colibri Ecotourism Award draws attention to rich natural and cultural diversity in Mexico. Pedro works with weavers in Teotitlan del Valle (where last year's Colibri Ecotourism winner Gerhard Buttner taught English classes) - and integrates cultural elements on his bike rides.

This 'out of the box' thinking still defies the traditional silo thinking as it does not fit with interior organization chart. Pedro added that he had ideas on how to make all of this work better and he's been doing just that. By working the artisans off the beaten track, he's been able to bring in much needed income to rural villages. It's this type of leadership that the Colibri Ecotourism Award recognizes.

An interesting note is how Pedro has worked with his nephews in developing Web 2.0 channels including Flickr -- -- and YouTube --
Pedro even started his own Flickr Group called Si Más Bicicletas to which cycling fans are cordially invited to share pictures

This underlines the importance not only of the Web and Web 2.0 but also collaboration.


b Flickr Gallery
b Flickr Group: Si más bicicletas
b YouTube
b Website


b Condecoran a Pedro Martínez con el Ecoturismo Colibrí
b Newslink
b Oaxaca es una tierra donde no se detienen las sorpresas
b Olor a mi tierra

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Pedro has managed to impressively blend his love for cycling with his obvious enthusiasm for his home, Oaxaca. He is a perfect example of understanding visitors and understanding the place he hosts them in, from the environment to the people. Pedro goes out of his way to make tours unique, as is so beautifully exemplified by his positive interaction with Teotitlan weavers (and I have heard first-hand how highly he is regarded there). An excellent choice for the Colibri award.
- Gerhard Buttner, Colibri Ecotourism Award Winner, 2008

We have been working with Pedro Martinez for several years and he always does an excellent job involving the local communities. His company is well prepared and it's a lot of fun traveling with them. Pedro provides a unique program and very good equipment and service.
- Claudia Schurr, Tierraventura

Pedro and family

Colibri Ecotourism Award
Short history of the Colibri Ecotourism Award
Reflections on Awards
World Environment Day
Colibri Slideshow b



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