by Ron Mader
A group of friends in Oaxaca are creating the Responsible Tourism Fair (January 17-30), our 10th event since 2001 and a veritable model of frugality and slow travel.
Visitors have a number of options, including weaver-guided walks in Teotitlán del Valle, photosafaris in public parks and authentic indigenous meals including Caldo de Piedra (Chinanteco), Maatsy (Mixe) and tamales (Zapotec-style). Self-guided treasure hunts asks foodies to try various cheeses, chocolates and mezcal. Photographers are invited to share photos in relevant Flickr Groups with prizes to be awarded at the end of the fair.
Responsible tourism is treating others the way they wish to be treated. A growing number of travelers want their journeys to be less invasive and more beneficial to the local community. They want to better understand the culture of the people they meet in the places they visit. Travelers should be mindful that they are entering a place that is someone else’s home. Interpretation begins long before the trip and ends long afterward. Those who enjoy a trip will look back fondly for the rest of their lives.
If you cannot attend in person, there are many ways to participate. We are inviting our friends to create your own RT event during this time and share the news via Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and all of the cool toys and and tools of Web 2.0. Twitter Hashtag: #rtf2010
Announcing the return of the world’s largest small event — the 2009 Rural Tourism Fair takes place January 19-30 in Oaxaca City and surrounding towns. The fair is hosted each year by Planeta.com and friends.
“This year’s event expands on what we’ve accomplished the past few years in Oaxaca, Mexico,” explained Planeta.com founder Ron Mader, who created the fair in 2001 as a way of conducting an inexpensive grassroots event to bring together locals and visitors. Among the advances — many of the local artisans and tour providers have their own websites and online photo galleries. The fair has also changed from a one-day market to a series of micro-events held over the last two weeks of January.
The fair encourages the integration of Web 2.0 tools including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube to document best practices in rural tourism. Those not in Oaxaca are encouraged to create their own rural tourism events and to share their stories online the Rural Tourism Photography Group.
Among the highlights — local food tastings, photography walks, indigenous language lessons and videonights where we show locally made videos and photo galleries. Join us for a walk with the weavers in the town of Teotitlán del Valle, dining adventures at the Caldo de Piedra Restaurant and a hand’s on visit to a community garden.
The event — now in its 9th year — is held in late January as a way to kick start the new year. The program will be updated before and during the fair online http://planeta.wikispaces.com/ruraltourism2009.