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Hound Dog

Dec 31, 2009, 11:20 AM

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Tourism as The White Manīs Burden

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I have lot of respect for Ron Mader so please donīt take this wrong as we live in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas and Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca among friends whenever we choose to do so but this "Responsible Tourism" movement, while certainly commendable on the surface is awash in words more important than results in my judgment. I wish to engage others in this conversation rationally. I am not being cantankerous. I would like to explore where this "movement" is taking us that profits no third "profit mortivated" party.

Since we bought our home to renovate in San Cristóbal de Las Casas as a second residence in 2006, we have lived by the principles of the "Responsible Tourism" movement without fail even though we did not even know of the existence of this movement and our motives were not altruistic but based on the personal rewards we could achieve just by being there and interracting with locals. That was a personal decision. We never thought that we were engaged in some sort of "responsible tourism" and, as it turned out, we were not engaged in any such self-professed, personally glorifying high-minded rescue of locals from themselves. I smell a sponge and Iīm speaking of the concept, not what Ron and his associates are sponsoring in Oaxaca which, frankly, sounds like a lot of fun and an educational experience to me.

Comments; in agreement or contrary, are welcome, even solicited.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Dec 31, 2009, 11:51 AM)



RonMader


Dec 31, 2009, 1:14 PM

Post #2 of 6 (4525 views)

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a call to action

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These are all good points.

When defining tourism as 'eco' or 'sustainable' or 'responsible' practitioners often envelop themselves in a holier-than-thou attitude, but it doesn't have to be this way. In the presentation I made at the global Responsible Tourism Conference in Belize last October, I echoed the voices of tourists and locals who I have been working with by calling for practical actions that go beyond the notable sentiments.

Review the program for the Responsible Tourism Fair in Oaxaca and you'll notice that it certainly isn't focused on rescuing, but rather creating opportunities for face-to-face engagement. When we created the 'Walk with the Weavers' concept it was simply to let the weavers lead the tours. Why? Oaxaca City-based guides and taxi drivers frequently charge a 40% commission. That leaves little $ in the hands of the artisans and more expensive crafts for the visitors. What is responsible tourism? In my mind, responsible tourism creates mutually beneficial experiences.


Hound Dog

Dec 31, 2009, 1:48 PM

Post #3 of 6 (4516 views)

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Re: [RonMader] a call to action

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I know exactly what you mean Ron and am sympathetic to your cause. As you might surmise, I was and am simply concerned that the movement, no matter how sincere in its goals, will attract scores of self-righteous, seemingly sincere camp followers, whose sole purpose is self-aggrandizement. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Dec 31, 2009, 4:15 PM)


roni_smith


Jan 1, 2010, 9:34 PM

Post #4 of 6 (4440 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Tourism as The White Manīs Burden

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White man's burden??

I travel some. I grew up in a Latin American culture.

I grew up watching American tourists. Some where better than others.

Activities that encourage authentic experiences, I tend to like those that are authentic.

People who just want to go lay on the beach at an all-inclusive for a week or two.

More power to them. Those who are paying will hopefully get something that approximates what they think they are paying for.
------
Planning for Mexico Move Blog



Hound Dog

Jan 2, 2010, 7:13 AM

Post #5 of 6 (4412 views)

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Re: [roni_smith] Tourism as The White Manīs Burden

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I travel some. I grew up in a Latin American culture.

I grew up watching American tourists. Some where better than others.

Just for the record, Roni, the term "white manīs burden" as Dawg used it in the above post really has nothing to do with American tourists except peripherally in that American tourists represent a small contingent among people of many nationalities touring about the world at any given time. Rather, I meant it as an observation, rightly or wrongly, about an historic tendency among the old western imperialists to justify their intrusions into other cultures by rationalizing those intrusions as "helpful" to the "natives". It happens my wife and I agree wholeheatedly with the goals of "responsible tourism" and would go nuts lying on a beach for more than a day or ever setting foot in an all-inclusive resort segregated from local cultures . Wherever we traveled throughout the world we have practiced and recommend the principles of responsible tourism without reservation as we have for decades.

I think what Ron and others are doing in Oaxaca is commendable and in no way was I criticizing them for their fair which is a very good idea.

Enough said.


(This post was edited by Hound Dog on Jan 2, 2010, 7:46 AM)


Glenn

Jan 2, 2010, 3:54 PM

Post #6 of 6 (4355 views)

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Re: [Hound Dog] Tourism as The White Manīs Burden

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H. Dawg
For several days your posts have seemed more thoughtful but still thought provoking and of very high quality in tone and in content. No flinching by the reader and having to tell yourself, "It's just Dawg at it again." Your insights and information are edifying, educational and balanced. Not that they were not always such, but now, so palatable and effective. Don't know If you've had a change in medication, started meditation, or had a spirtual experience but something is different.

Just my impression, but for me, a pleasure to read.
 
 
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