Project Turismo Intercultural Solidario
Turismo Intercultural is a joint project of Foundation Rigoberta Menchú and the Austrian association INTERSOL. The heart of the project is Centro Pavarotti in San Lucas Tolimán. San Lucas is a small town located on the shores of Lake Atitlan in the west of Guatemala in the district of Sololá. In comparison to other towns at the lake there is hardly any signs of tourism in San Lucas. The majority of the inhabitants are indigenous, 95 % of the population speaks Kaq´chikel, as well Spanish, which is the second official language in the community.
A lot of places have already lost their traditions because of tourism. The destruction of nature and cultures is one of the direct results of tourism and it is our aim to bring these negative
affects of tourism to both the attentions of tourists and Guatemalans. With the project Turismo Intercultural we want to avoid the bad impact of tourism and we want to create a new source of
income for the people in San Lucas.
Nevertheless we still believe in the positive influence of tourism, which we feel can be achieved. Why not get in touch with a different culture, learn and exchange and use this experience to
conserve and improve our own culture and create some cultural diversity. Guatemala still has the heritage of the Mayans, which is much more than old temples and ruins...it is the living culture
in the towns. Turismo Intercultural gives the opportunity to get personally in touch with it .
Naturally there are contradictions between tourism and cultural diversity. We cannot be indifferent to the problems of “traditional” tourism. However, our form of tourism permits the interaction
and cultural exchange with fair benefits for the communities involved, acknowledging the importance of economic, social and cultural development.