by Ron Mader
Pedro Martinez Wins 2009 Colibri Ecotourism Award
OAXACA DE JUAREZ, MEXICO — As part of the global celebration of World
Environment Day (June 5), Planeta.com presents the ninth annual Colibri
Ecotourism Award to Pedro Martinez, the owner of a small business in Oaxaca
City that has pioneered responsible travel and ecotourism the past 20 years.
“Pedro is an inspiration, a model of the small business entrepreneur who has
persevered in creating an enterprise that touches the lives of locals and
foreigners,” said Planeta.com founder Ron Mader. ” His work is outstanding
and the contributions he has made to the Rural Tourism Fairs and to
improving the editorial content on Planeta.com are good examples of sharing
lessons and broadening the appeal of Mexico’s rural tourism and ecotourism
The Colibri Ecotourism Award recognizes leaders who are at the forefront of
innovative measures to protect cultural and natural heritage in Mexico.
“We hope that the Colibri Ecotourism Award gets the word out about Mexico’s
role in the global movement toward responsible travel and ecotourism,” said
Emilio Kifuri, award co-sponsor and owner of Canyon Travel —
http://www.canyontravel.com — a North American ecotourism operator.
“Entrepreneurs like Pedro Martinez lead the way. Literally!”
“This year’s Colibri Ecotourism Award recognizes a continuation of Oaxaca’s
place in fostering innovative and sustainable tourism practices,” said Greg
Custer, award co-sponsor and Vice President of Destination Ventures —
http://www.magicofmexico.com. “The Oaxaca region has for millennia been a
wellspring for human cultural advancement. The rest of world should take
ABOUT THE COLIBRI AWARD
Colibri means ‘Hummingbird’ in Spanish and in 2009 the Colibri Award
celebrates its ninth anniversary, making this one of the longest-running
ecotourism awards. The winner of the annual award receives a trophy, diploma
and a $1,000 cash award from Emilio Kifuri, president of Canyon Travel.
“Mexico is one of the world’s mega diverse countries and there are many
examples where tourism helps educate visitors and provides benefits for
rural communities,” said Kifuri. “Mexico ought to be at the forefront of the
ecotourism movement and if we pay attention to the work that’s being done,
the word ‘ecotourism’ will make travelers think of Mexico.”
The Colibri Ecotourism Award’s co-sponsor, Destination Ventures, contributes
directly to Planeta.com to develop supporting projects documenting the
winner’s work. The company specializes in travel industry education and
currently works for the Mexico Tourism Board and United Nations Foundation
in promoting sustainable travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Previous winners include Steve Bridger, Gerhard Buttner Jennifer Morfín,
Hector Ceballos-Lascurain, Jorge Chàvez de la Peña, Fernando Garcia
Aguinaco, Marlene Ehrenberg, Juan Carlos Ibarra and Antonio Suárez and
The winner of the award is selected by Planeta.com founder Ron Mader
following consultation with previous award winners and colleagues.
Planeta.com presents the Colibri Ecotourism Award to those whose work in
Mexico is exemplary and who share what they learn. Good ideas require good
work to come to completion and good work needs to be documented so that
lessons can be shared.
Nominees participate in the Planeta Forum or contribute editorial
suggestions for at least a year. Bonus points are given to those who
participate on other websites and forums. This is part of Planeta.com’s
desire to create incentives for communication, collaboration and continuity,
all vital elements in the development of ecotourism and responsible travel.
Pedro Martinez wins the 2009 Colibri Ecotourism Award.
Born in El Cabrito la Hermita Ejutla de Crespo, Pedro was raised in the
Pedro won the state sports award in 1985. He was a member of the national
road cycling team from 1985 to 1988. In 1991 he participated in the Duatlón
World Championship in California.
Pedro opened his business in 1988 and after three years of running a cycling
store began operating tours in 1991.
“Tourists would come to Oaxaca and want to rent a bicycle and they’d look
for me,” Pedro recalls. “Then a tour operator friend from Ottawa suggested
that I offer tours. This idea sparked my interest and helped developed the
confidence needed to develop tours.”
Pedro credits a number of international contacts for the help needed in
making his operation a success. These include Austin – Lehman Adventures
(USA), Solana Tours (Mexico) and Joker Tours (Belgium).
Inclusion in the Lonely Planet Guidebook has also been important. “Being
featured in Lonely Planet has been an honor,” Martinez added. “Foreigners
coming to Oaxaca trust this book and feel a sense of security with the
operations listed. I am very grateful to the publisher for a book that truly
understands how to assist travelers to understand Mexico.”
Pedro also has been an active participant in the rural tourism fairs hosted
by Planeta.com in Oaxaca since 2001.
By giving Pedro the award in 2009, the Colibri Ecotourism Award draws
attention to rich natural and cultural diversity in Mexico. Pedro works with
weavers in Teotitlan del Valle (where last year’s Colibri Ecotourism winner
Gerhard Buttner taught English classes) – and integrates cultural elements
on his bike rides.
This ‘out of the box’ thinking still defies the traditional silo thinking as
it does not fit with interior organization chart. Pedro added that he had
ideas on how to make all of this work better and he’s been doing just that.
By working the artisans off the beaten track, he’s been able to bring in
much needed income to rural villages. It’s this type of leadership that the
Colibri Ecotourism Award recognizes.
An interesting note is how Pedro has worked with his nephews in developing
Web 2.0 channels including Flickr —
http://flickr.com/photos/bicicletaspedro — and YouTube —
Pedro even started his own Flickr Group called Si Más Bicicletas to which
cycling fans are cordially invited to share pictures