INDIGENOUS TOURISM IN THE 21ST
Indigenous peoples are using the Web to share their stories
with the world and travelers are connecting with indigenous
communities. Welcome to the world of Indigenous Tourism.
The Web -- and in particular Social Web: Flickr, Slideshare, YouTube, Twitter -- creates an
extraordinary opportunity for indigenous people with crafts
and tourism services to get the word out about their world and
the protocols expected of others.
Tourism is changing from 50-seat bus tours to smaller groups
and individual travel. Long
tail marketing and sales in tourism certainly can benefit
rural communities and indigenous tourism services once the locals
know how to share their stories online as well as on tour. Valuable
conversations -- online and on the ground -- only deepen these
partnerships and motivate others.
Visitors are asking deep questions about the values inherent
in their tours. How do the tours and purchase of crafts
or food benefit the locals? Where does my money go? Am I welcome
Most visitors are willing to abide local protocol, but rules
need to be clearly defined before arrival. Just where are visitors
invited? Where are visitors asked to stay away?
Planeta.com features coverage of indigenous people and tourism
in regional guides. We have also entered into an extended dialogue
with indigenous leaders around the world that take the form
of web workshops and webinars and guides for visitors.
Indigenous peoples manage more than 40% of all IUCN-recognized
protected areas in the world, and many of them - if not most
- use tourism as a complement, or main product, of their economic
benefits from these areas.
In the development of many projects, including tourism, conservation,
indigenous people have not been considered as valued stakeholders
from the start. In the worst cases, they are not listened to
in the development of 'charitable' projects. Adequate consultation
is a must. The question for non-indigenous tourism developers,
media, government leaders, academics and yours truly is how
to listen to indigenous voices and integrate these perspectives
into ongoing work.
Guidelines -- such as explaining gender-specific activities
or which places are off limit to visitors -- help diminish misunderstandings
and social faux paus.
As the movements toward local travel and responsible travel
deepen, indigenous peoples have much to offer a growing number
of travelers who wish to respect people and place. Putting such
noble ideas into practice is the task at hand!
HOW INDIGENOUS PEOPLES CAN IMPROVE COMMUNICATION
Likewise the options for what visitors can do need to be more
evident. Many visitors miss out on connecting with locals via
food, crafts and tours simply because the promotional brochures,
flyers, business cards are not visible. Typically promotion
happens during or after an event and the operator websites are
non-existent or have not been updated in a few years.
collaborative projects include documenting language and crafts
by the Ayuuk (Mixe), Zapotecs, Mixtecs and Chinantecos.
We have collaborated with the artisans in Teotitlán
del Valle in developing weaver-led tours, as part of our
annual fair. This is an innovative project that has already
generated a directory of weavers and a dictionary of local Zapotec.
In 2012 we are focusing attention on the Maya
World and seeking to engage with responsible tourism operations
in the region.
The Maori call New
Zealand 'Aotearoa,' the Land of the Long White Cloud. The
Maori are descended from people who originally populated the
Planeta.com joins in the annual celebration of Matariki
and Maori Language Week.
Planeta.com collaborated with Aboriginal Tourism Australia in
developing marketing strategies for aboriginal tour operators.
We participated in the 2007 Business Development Symposium,
a powerful capacity building training seminar that brought together
a number of stakeholders to review current policy. Sadly our
relationship came to end end when Aboriginal Tourism Australia
closed its doors in July 2008. (Details)
is used to name the Lappish people, the indigenous population
of Sápmi (northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Kola peninsula
in Russia). The Sámi people live in four countries and have
no national state of their own, but the Sámi flag has been flying
in Norway, Finland, Russia and Sweden since 1986.