Working with Indigenous Women on Multifunctionality and Sustainable Rural Tourism in Western Mexico


  • Peter Gerritsen University of Guadalajara, Mexico


Rural tourism, multifuncionality, Mexico, endogenous rural development


Currently, globalization is recognized as a process that has many negative effects on the Mexican countryside. These effects include the disconnection of peasants and indigenous people from the national and international economies, poverty, deterioration of natural resources and agrodiversity, loss of local knowledge and traditions, and cultural transformations. Although globalization has many negative effects, increasing numbers of peasants and indigenous people are looking for alternative livelihood strategies. These strategies aim to make better use of local resources while also allowing relatively autonomous production methods. The activities of these actors fall within different links of the productive chain; these links are production, transformation, commercialization, and consumption. The responses of the local actors could be considered to represent a new emergent rurality. The responses also have in common a revalorization of the multifunctional character of the Mexican countryside. This article describes the experiences of a group of indigenous women farmers with rural tourism. This group, called "Color de Tierra" (Color of the Earth), has been working on ecological agriculture since 1995. Since 2005, this group has incorporated new activities to regulate the increasing number of tourists that have been visiting the community. The experiences of the group occur in those rural development alternatives that aim at strengthening the multifunctionality of the Mexican countryside. This group incorporates its experiences from the specific local context where it develops its activities, which is also an example of the generation of new alternatives that allow re–localization of the rural life conditions that are threatened by the forces of globalization. Keywords: Rural tourism, multifunctionality, Mexico, endogenous rural development

Author Biography

Peter Gerritsen, University of Guadalajara, Mexico

Peter Gerritsen is a rural sociologist working as a senior lecturer-research at the University of Guadalajara. For the last 19 years, he has been conducting action-research and teaching activities in western Mexico.