Exploring the Maya World in 2012

by Ron Mader

There are an estimated 7 million indigenous Maya living in southern Mexico and northern Central America at the start of the 21st century.

Look for an increase in tours and events focusing on the Maya in the coming year. Why? The Maya calendar is said to conclude its current cycle on December 21, 2012. The period leading up to the winter solstice in 2012, as well as this particular day, we reckon will be more of the same, bringing what Rob Brezsny says will be the “usual rate of breakdowns and breakthroughs that has characterized the last two decades.”

The breakthrough we would like to see is one in which we learn more from the Maya themselves. We’d like to see tourism that benefits the indigenous communities and in which locals have a greater voice. Please no more replica villages created and funded by outsiders. It would be great to see authentic collaboration among Maya leaders, communities and the national and international tourism players. Instead of performing in shows written about them, if the Maya wanted, they could engage visitors face-to-face. Visitors just need to know where they are invited.

Planeta.com will be updating regional guides. Suggestions are welcome.

Editors of the Planeta Wiki are invited to update the Exploring the Maya World. Let us know what events are taking place within the region and outside.

We would like to extend a cordial invitation to Maya tour operators and tour operators working with Maya communities to share what you are doing online Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube.

If funding permits, we will roll out a new call for nominees for the Indigenous Tourism and Biodiversity Website Award. 2012 could be a pivotal year indeed.

Buzzword Bingo: Maya

2 thoughts on “Exploring the Maya World in 2012”

  1. Well said, Ron. 2012 might indeed be a pivotal year for indigenous tourism in the Mundo Maya. However, given the long history of oppression and exploitation of the Maya people by outsiders, I can’t help wondering how eager the contemporary Maya really are to engage visitors face-to-face.

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