A MESSAGE FROM THE MINISTER OF TOURISM
RODOLFO ELIZONDO TORRES
TOWARD A TOURISM VISION BASED ON HUMAN AND SOCIAL VALUES
The Tourism for All Program seeks to increase the wellbeing of Mexicans through tourism, to bring people together by incorporating the new social realities within its aims and activities. The program intends to create more spaces for society’s participation in providing services, emphasizing and promoting their ability for self-management in a sustainable development framework.
The new tourism concept understands that collective interests must be renewed through the construction of spaces for relaxation and recreation, and which favor a complete experience for the individual and he group, in the understanding that access to tourism is a basic human demand; no-one should be excluded from it for reasons of sexual orientation, age, religion, health, disability or economic status.
In pursuing this aim, we must adopt the criteria contained in the Declaration of Montreal, which has sought to promote a different kind of tourism focused on a"human and social vision of tourism"since 1996. This document has effectively validated the concept of "tourism for all", incorporating it into the new spaces and horizons projected for the new millennium since 2000. It redefines "tourism for all" as a tool for building societies, a driver of economic growth, a player in urbanization and local development and the key partner in development programs.
As a builder of societies, the new perspectives of tourism for all must not be diluted in current tourism practices, but instead be focused on offering the possibility of living tourism as an authentic and global experience so that it can contribute to people’s personal growth and overall development. This makes tourism for all a promoter of social cohesion, insofar as it can create various development opportunities in local communities; a development that should not only be seen from an economic perspective, but a social and educational one too.
By contributing to economic growth, tourism for all brings continuous flows of people and investment that play an important role in developing regions and in the production of consumer goods. It also provides an incentive for various activities that bolster internal tourism, contributing to the improvement of hotel occupancy rates in hotels during low seasons and providing continuity for benefits enjoyed by communities over time.
In terms of urbanization of regions and local development, tourism for all stimulates visitor numbers to cultural areas, areas of natural beauty and sports activities that are organized in different parts of the country. This brings the visitor into close contact with the enjoyment provided by these tourism activities. The movement gives impetus to the construction of means of access, communication infrastructure, urban renovation and protection of archaeological and historical constructions.
When considering tourism for all as a partner in development programs, it is important to remember that its importance is not limited purely to consumption and profit, as it also promotes values related to sustainability and solidarity, without substituting those that already exist in different parts of the country.
An urgent change is needed to promote the change in focus from developing tourism to developmental tourism, involving the teamwork of all sectors of society in changing the rhythm of tourism. A rhythmical job that not only implies reassessing the term itself but also accelerates the development of tourism for all and which manages to implement other tourism alternatives, in which the development of tourism is more effectively reconciled with the travelers’ education, environmental protection and respect for local identities.
This new mission to bring about tourism for all is pitched against the old formula of a tourism involving social marginalization and reduced to simple low quality tourism. On the other hand, the new tourism for all, if properly applied, becomes a useful resource that helps build new societies.
It is therefore essential to support the seamless work between different sectors and provide leadership for strategies and actions to promote internal tourism. This will mean that many Mexicans, young people, families, elderly and disabled people have the opportunity to make high quality journeys.
The Tourism for All program considers these elements and aims to offer tourism products at accessible or preferential prices; it also aims to open up new markets, incorporating groups that previously did not know the vast array of travel options, and thus adding together all the different ethnic roots and the delights of Mexico’s gastronomy, culture and craftsmanship for the whole country to enjoy.
But above all, this program is based on an ethical principle that creates many initiatives to combat poverty, exploitation, discrimination, inequality – based on the conviction that the quality of life in host communities will benefit as a result of the new tourism for all, and that the tourism culture of Mexican tourists will improve. This effort is being made on two fronts: to improve the travel culture as well as the tourism culture. Two aspects that together can build better and fairer societies.
A Tourism for All
What is a tourism for all?
Tourism for Allis a term used to describe a kind of tourism that is complete, plural, diverse, democratic, life-changing and profitable. It organizes and draws together a wide range of accessible, fairly-priced activities intended for the greatest possible number of people. These activities include the development of mental and physical skills which aid knowledge uptake and interaction with others, under schemes of social responsibility and personalized treatment, with a focus on satisfying customers’ special needs and tastes. These characteristics make it development tourism; a social and humanist tourism that is more concerned with quality than quantity.
Its guiding principles include:
- Democratizing access to tourism: in a collaborative effort by the public, private, community sectors and different levels of government create the conditions in which Mexicans can enjoy tourism. This includes a varied and attractive high quality offer, supported by financing, multiplying the travel options to broad sectors of the Mexican population.
- Participant Involvement: the Tourism for All program aims to bring about a kind of tourism that provides integral development for individuals (the program’s subjects and objects), as part of its wider aim to harness more proactive and improved participation in community life, social cohesion where respect for "the other" is the basis for community life and cooperation between different economic sectors combined with social justice for Mexico’s towns and communities.
- Learning through tourism: this type of tourism plays a fundamental role in citizens’ education by enriching life experiences and improving cultural and educational knowledge - as well as promoting respect for the environment and local communities being visited. In this way, travelers are equally in touch with themselves as the places they visit, their physical surroundings, spaces, objects, nature, traditions, culture and gastronomy. It also links them through communication with others, in a relationship of equals, bringing tourists and hosts together in building a historical, ecological and community awareness that is committed to social sustainability.
- Competitiveness, ethics and sustainability: Tourism for All creates a policy of respecting other people and the environment. One of its main concerns is achieving operational excellence of tourism services that protect natural resources and respect local communities. These services should offer a series of activities that are full of educational content and committed to the protection of visitors and standards of quality. In short, it promotes improved service, the ethic of respecting "the other" and the implementation of criteria of sustainability.
Tourism for All has been redefined as a:
- Social architect,
- Driver of economic development,
- Agent of local and regional growth, and
- Key partner in international development programs.
From being a marginal kind of tourism which provided service to vulnerable groups, it now involves all sectors of society, regardless of the socio-economic level; instead of being a service-related activity, it now promotes private and public investment for companies participating in the organization of tour routes; moving on from being primarily a group-oriented and aimless activity,today it provides recreation and relaxation by providing culture, health, sports and spaces to strengthen family units;no longer just catering for small groups of workers,it now includes children, adolescents, students, adults, disabled people and immigrants. From being primarily focused on amusement parks and spas,nowadays it is also about sports tourism, spa tourism, ecotourism and cultural tourism. No longer an exclusive activity to be looked down upon, it is now seen as inclusive, supportive and sustainable, a space opening up so that tourism is available for everyone.Tourism for All is therefore the guiding principle giving impetus for tourism in Mexico.
Social and Human Vision of Tourism for All.
Tourism for All Public Policy.
Regulations of the National Council for Tourism for All.
Manual for the Integration and Management of State Councils for Tourism for All.
Directory of members of the National Council for Tourism for All.
Work Program for the Social Tourism Development Department, 2007-2012.
Note: For more information from the Social Tourism Development Department (Dirección de Desarrollo de Turismo Social)
Telephone: (55) 3002-6300
María Guadalupe Gómez Mont Urueta
Director of Social Tourism Development
Edith Hernández Segura
Deputy Director of Social Tourism Development
Reyna Aguilera Meza