By Mariana Díaz Jiménez
One of the purposes of each new year, especially at the business level, is to find the possibility of investing in a new business. This intention has been strengthened if we reflect on the fact that we come from a year 2020 that had catastrophic consequences in traditional Tourism. In fact, thousands of companies that had their expectations of sustained growth
and that revolved as providers of tourist services, disappeared.
The pandemic generated by the virus COVID-19, brought diverse consequences and changes of 180 degrees in diverse environments; health has been prioritized, over any other aspect of life and happi- ness has recovered its main detonator. The harmonious environ- ment, a natural, healthy quality of life, without excesses, and reflective.
This painful process of natural selection (if we could use that term), also allows us a new beginning, where the inclusion of vulnera- ble sectors, which have been again the most hurt by the effects of the disease, are integrated into the emerging economies.
Rural tourism represents one of these options, the growth that can be generated in a joint but orderly manner, towards communities far from the big cities, can be a new way of generating a more just society.
In Latin America, there are 240 ethnic groups, or native peoples, with a very similar cultural reality, practically similar, and, according to studies by WTO experts; sufficiently prepared to receive orderly investments that represent benefits to the community, respecting the ecological environment, in exchange for the generation of self-sustaining tourism. In this context, one of the task is to promote the approach of Rural Development Policies; in the light of the successes of the European communities; where modernity has managed to im- prove the standard of living of remote communities; respecting the uses and customs of the ethnic group (a term even used in the form of government in Latin America); but greatly improving their com- munication channels, medical services, drinking water, electricity, etc.
Rural tourism represents a new oportunity to generate a fairer society.
There are many advantages to highlight that the rural environment can offer as an option for tourism; especially in Latin America, where the vegetation, culture, and traditions form a great attraction; that can be the backbone of a new model of attractions for visitors. And we can verify this with the tendency of several nations to point out some communities as “Magic Towns”; a business model that sees the opportunity for sustainable development based on the natural strengths of the population, geography, and local production.
In the framework of the International Tourism Day, Mr. Joan Pazzola, gave a masterful conference and pointed out the great possibility that Rural Tourism is the trigger of new and better visions for the tourist.
Examples that can inspire this type of investment are animal conservation parks, even those that are not in danger of extinction; but which require arge areas of land and strategic planning of the settlement. In Latin American communities, handicrafts are a great attraction, which until now have been mostly exploited by commercial intermediation. However, these communities, even the most remote ones; can find a growth model by allowing the arrival of tourists at the time of creation of their products. This would mean the capacity of tourism; to spend the night and participate in the customs of the community and in the long run, a sustained and sustainable growth.
If to reinforce the opportunity to see with possibilities the option of Rural Tourism we need real examples; and based on the experience of the Old
World. We can take a look at a place called Júzgar, a Smurf village located in the Serranía de Ronda, in Málaga; whose economic growth happened by the only fact that its inhabitants organized themselves and painted their houses and streets blue. The company Sony, declared it the first Smurf village in the world; a family tourist attraction, where the oldest house was converted into the cave of Gargamel, and only for this reason
they receive huge amounts of visitors a year.
Rural tourism requires, more than any other segment of creativity, a quality that Latinos have in abundance. In this sense while in some cities graffiti is prohibited, in others, this activity seriously regulated, has meant the curiosity and generated a tourism that sustains diverse economies around cities involved with art; this is undoubtedly an option that in Mexico can work, and that also comes from proven experiences with the arrival of more than 19 400 thousand people a year, due to the constant visit of graffiti artists who develop their art portraying the population itself and its environment.
The multiple activities of rural tourism, combined with the imagination, but also with tradition, shows that the combination of the wine industry can generate a growth of wine communities, and in the case of Mexico the production of intoxicating beverages is a tradition, so it is a constant to see more and more new liquors, however, the benefit could be extended to the producing communities.
It is evident that because of the covid-19 we have returned to those 20’s where family trips were the walks to nearby towns, the tasting of artisan products, and the walks that involve no more than managing relative distances, however, the reality of this new year, forces us to rethink the diverse scenarios of tourism, and to make packages that offer open destinations, and that mean the coexistence with nature. Preparing ourselves for this new year 2021, adapting to change, both as suppliers and consumers, will be the new challenge for the tourism industry.