Translation from the Myan language.
Ko’ox – Let’s go
Mayab – Mayan territory
Ko’ox Mayab – Let’s go to the Mayab
Author’s note: Although the right way to write the first word of our name is with a “K”, we use the letter “C” of our brand for rights and commercial use.
Who we are
We are a union of cooperatives committed to the practice of responsible, solidarity-based, fair and conscious tourism in the Yucatan. We promote:
- Responsible tourism that considers best tourism practices that reduce the impact generated by this activity.
- A solidary encounter that opens the approach to social reality and coexistence, promoting intercultural dialogue.
- Fair trade where public and private institutions cooperate with local organizations ensuring an equitable distribution of the benefits generated by tourism.
- A conscious journey as an experience that contributes to personal growth, through contact between visitors, locals and biocultural heritage.
Why community-based tourism?
Community-based tourism is practiced in rural or indigenous contexts and its goal is to improve the living conditions of local communities. In these projects, community members are responsible for planning, operating and managing tourism projects; as well as distributing the benefits derived from tourism activity.
We believe in community-based tourism because, for the cooperative’s members, it is a way to obtain complementary income without abandoning their daily activities, taking advantage of, preserving and revaluing the culture and natural resources of their environment. All this contributes to the local economy and finally is an empowering tool for the communities to appropriate their resources.
The visit to a community should be planned in advance, so that hosts can organize to combine their activities (the traditional and tourist ones) and offer a quality experience to visitors.
Is it the same as rural tourism?
No, community-based organizations can offer all kinds of low-impact tourism activities, from adventure tourism by rappelling into cenotes over 10m high, to ecotourism on interpretive trails where it is possible to discover the region’s biodiversity by going into natural protected areas for bird-watching, and rural tourism by participating in community workshops to learn about local culture and rural lifestyles. The difference is that the tourism services and projects are operated by community groups.
Our organization has four main objectives:
- Strengthening of cooperatives aiming to improve the tourist quality and the sustainability of their initiatives.
- Commercialization of the services offered by local cooperatives in the local, national and international markets.
- Promotion of community-based tourism to raise awareness about good tourism practices among service providers, travellers and society in general.
- Governance to strengthen networking, contribute to local empowerment and achieve a meaningful impact on public policies that generate benefits for community-based tourism in the region.
The initiative is based on a diagnosis made in 2014 jointly by the Yucatan’s Council of Alternative Community-Based Touris (COTACY), the Autonomous University of Yucatan (UADY), the Secretariat of Tourism Development (SEFOTUR), the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) and the civil association Act Locally for Ecological and Responsible Tourism (ALTER).
The analysis identified the low levels of profitability and tourist quality in the cooperatives, which combined with difficulties in managing their projects and a reduced flow of visitors led to the failure or abandonment of community-based initiatives. This way, the proposal to create Co’ox Mayab arose in 2015, with the purpose of attending the identified problems.
In the following years and thanks to the support received from various organizations such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Fomento Social Banamex A.C. and Fundación ADO, the organization has been strengthened, obtaining in 2019 the Cemex-Tec Award in the category of Community Entrepreneurship and the Yucatan Entrepreneurship Award in the category of Social Entrepreneurship.