Tag Archives: engage

What grade would you give Mexico tourism officials?

by Ron Mader

Let me recycle something I recently wrote on Lonely Planet. Here’s a curious stat: There are 16 baseball teams in Mexico all of which have Facebook pages. There are 32 states in Mexico (including Mexico City not technically a state but let’s throw it in) and of these entities only 6 or so have real Facebook pages (not the profiles which have confused so many tourism officials). Frankly, the model of tourism information distribution is woefully obsolete. Mexican baseball league insisted that all of the teams become social media-savvy. And tourism? Not so much …

Today for example there is a big tourism conference taking place in the Riviera Maya. We can read about this online Twitter (hashtag #wttc2012) but there’s no live-streaming video.

What grade would you give Mexico tourism officials? I’d say in the past sexenio, it deserves an “F” as leaders have failed to provide answers to travelers and locals. There are exceptions, of course. I have found six states’ tourism offices on Facebook, including Oaxaca and Chiapas. That said, the vast majority of officials at the city, state and overseas branches use media and social media in particular as bullhorns, and that is the least effective means of engaging the audience, locals or visitors.

Don’t get me wrong. I’d give Mexico tourism an “A” for what is offered. What’s woefully behind the curve are the practices of tourism officials using a ‘business as usual’ model when the current climate is anything but usual.

Let me quote a speaker from a New Zealand conference (whom I happened to hear thanks to the miracle of livestreaming) which reflects the task at hand: “Our biggest challenge in digital literacy is moving organizations to a position where they can work with the community that is digitally enabled. ”

Let me extend a challenge. Before the end of May, please show me which state and city tourism offices have Facebook channels. Bonus points for the entities that use Twitter. Double bonus points for the examples in which officials respond and answer questions in a timely manner. Officials can improve, but they may need encouragement from locals and visitors, so that the communication flows in two directions. Mexican baseball has figured out how to engage its fans. Hopefully, Mexican tourism can take a few pages out of this playbook.

Digital Literacy #NetHui  Our biggest challenge in digital literacy is moving organizations to a position where they can work with the community that is digitally enabled.

Ustream Guerreros TV en VIvo 03.2012

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