The Federal Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR) awarded Alltournative with the “Mexican Tourism Product Diversification Recognition” in the category of Cultural Tourism for the "Coba Mayaville" expedition. This award designed by SECTUR, recognizes initiatives that contribute to the diversification and innovation of the national tourism product and increase the number of visitors.The 2015 prize was given during the Mexican Tourism Tianguis held in Acapulco, Guerrero. The jury qualified proposals from across the country choosing the "Coba Mayaville" expedition as the winner for successfully meet the criteria evaluated:
- It facilitates knowledge and helps to appreciate the cultural and historical heritage of Mexico.
- It offers a new excursion designed and developed with the highest quality, innovation and sustainability criteria.
- It has a quantitative assessment of all achievements, as well as an action plan for its development.
- It is an example of successful tourism practice, and an appealing tour for national and international tourists.
- It has contributed to increase the number of visitors in destination.
- It has generated local employment and contributed with local economy.
Carlos Marin, Alltournative CEO received the recognition and said: "I am very happy because this is an achievement that has been able due to the team work with the Maya communities where we operate with the purpose to preserve its natural and cultural heritage". To him, this tour is a great innovation because Alltournative has been in business for fifteen years, and Coba Mayaville is their first product without adventure activities: "This expedition innovates by providing personal service; it is operated in small groups, in exclusive locations with highly qualified guides and native guides. We visit authentic Mayan communities that have been integrated into the formal tourism economy, now most of the inhabitants have a source of income and Alltournative promotes respect and preservation of their traditions."About the Coba Mayaville expedition.
Coba Mayaville is a sustainable tour operated in small groups; it offers an approach to the Maya culture from the historical legacy, by visiting the archaeological site of Coba, to the evolution of customs and current lifestyle in authentic Mayan communities. An archaeological guide (certified by SECTUR) provides all information in Coba explaining history and architecture of the Mayan civilization that flourished between 300 and 980 DC. Then, they go to Nohoch Muul, the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula, which you can still climb and from the top, a landscape of lakes surrounded by forests is appreciated.In the second part of the tour, visitors venture into the jungle to discover a genuine community that has preserved for generations a particular lifestyle without electricity or water. Meet the Cahum family and visit their house and their botanical garden. Later in the settlement of Esmeralda, a shaman offers an authentic Mayan ceremony and visitors can swim in crystal clear fresh water. Finally, in the town of Tres Reyes, tourists may approach with residents to learn about their economic and social development and enjoy a delicious lunch of typical food.This expedition was launched in 2012 receiving 4,227 tourists in the first year. In 2014 they managed 9,647 visitors.Coba Mayaville and sustainability.
This Cultural tour generates remarkable economic development in three Mayan communities that had little chance of living: Laguna Chabela, Esmeralda and Tres Reyes (this last already received tourist income with another Alltournative excursion). The three communities involved, get resources for more than $70.000 usd annually. Moreover, from the sale of handicrafts in Coba and communities, they get about $27,500 usd annually. Local people have been trained to fill the jobs as local guides, photographers, shamans (for old men) or kitchen staff (for women).As part of the agreement to operate the expedition in these Mayan communities, inhabitants are engaged not to deforest or hunt on more than 360 acres that remain as a conservation area, in order to protect the natural habitat for hundreds of species.There is a separation and recycling waste program. Bathrooms have low-flow system and waterless urinals. Kitchen and bathrooms work with bio-filter system, bio-digesters and wetlands for responsible wastewater treatment.In 2013 Alltournative included data from Coba Mayaville expedition and got the EarthCheck Silver certification with very positive results. Eight indicators are above best practices worldwide, and two achieved the highest rating regarding the commitment with local community.