Empowering Mayan Women through Sustainable Tourism Initiatives

One of the richest and alive cultures that exists in Mexico is the Mayan culture and a big part of it resides in Quintana Roo, with the traditions, language and gastronomy playing a big part of everyday life in the local community, even some Mayan words are spoken here and there in daily communication.

Some people may be familiar with the Day of the Dead festivities, but how many have heard of Hanal Pixán?, a similar celebration that has its roots in the Mayan culture and is still held every year in the communities across the region. Like this, there are multiple examples of traditions we are unaware of, that continue to be an important part of the local scene.

In recent years there has been an increasing interest in the tourism industry to maintain and keep alive these customs through eco-tourism and rural tourism. The tourism industry has proven to be a great source of connection between these communities and today’s economy, bridging income inequality, making them a more visible part of society and giving them the opportunity to access a better quality of life.

Mayan women play a crucial role in the tourism industry, as they are the keepers of their culture and traditions which have been passed down from one generation to another thanks to them and their role of primary caregivers in the family structure. They are the ones who preserve and share the secrets of their ancestors, and their knowledge is essential for creating authentic experiences for travelers. 

As women increasingly become empowered in the workplace, we must ensure that same empowerment applies to Mayan women and their cultural legacy. A growing number of women are taking up roles in tourism and hospitality, but they still face many challenges, they usually encounter more obstacles to find professional careers due to poverty, indigeneity and rurality. 

We can support women and their communities by choosing tourism initiatives that respect local cultures and environments. The importance of women leaders in tourism cannot be understated as they play an essential role in shaping how we perceive tourism destinations and experiences as a result of their unique perspective on culture, society and nature. In addition, Mayan women are known for their handicrafts and traditional cuisine, which are integral parts of the cultural heritage that tourists come to experience. 

Mayan women entrepreneurs have also made great strides in the industry, starting their own businesses and leading community-based tourism initiatives. By doing so, they are not only contributing to the economic development of their communities but also promoting sustainable and responsible tourism. 

They are essential to preserving and sharing the cultural heritage of their communities, and their entrepreneurial spirit is driving economic development and sustainability. As travelers seek out more meaningful and sustainable tourism experiences, Mayan women are poised to lead the way. It is essential that their contributions are recognized and supported, not only for the benefit of their communities but for the enrichment of the tourism industry as a whole.

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