Quintana Roo reinvents tourism by showcasing Mayan Culture

Tulum, Quintana Roo

MÉXICO » News » October 2023 » Quintana Roo reinvents tourism by showcasing Mayan Culture

Published by Juan F. Calero on October 19, 2023

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In a bid to move beyond its well-established reputation as a sun and beach destination, Quintana Roo, a sought-after Mexican state, is embracing its rich Mayan heritage to offer tourists a more immersive and culturally enriching experience. Despite hosting over 20 million visitors last year, Quintana Roo is now setting its sights on a new model of tourism, and the Secretary of Tourism, Bernardo Cueto, unveiled the details of this transformation at the Tourism Innovation Summit in Seville.

Cueto emphasized that Quintana Roo’s economy heavily relies on tourism, with 85% of its economic activity tied to the industry. The COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst for change, highlighting the need for more meaningful travel experiences. Cueto explained, “For a long time, the model was based on large resorts, very comfortable for the traveler. As a result of COVID, we have confirmed that tourists want something more: to live experiences.”

To meet this evolving demand, Quintana Roo is reviving the Mayan civilization, primarily in Maya Ka’an, located at the heart of the state. Cueto emphasized the uniqueness of this ancient culture as a competitive advantage, not only in terms of archaeological sites but also through the living Mayan communities that can share their traditions and heritage with tourists. He stated, “It is important, despite its popularity, to strengthen the personality of our destinations. People no longer seek to know the place, but to live it.”

This strategic shift involves close collaboration between the public and private sectors, who have aligned their agendas to ensure the region’s success. Among the challenges in this transition is the need to make changes in a sustainable and responsible manner. The State Tourism Law in Quintana Roo includes a Sustainable Tourism Master Plan that incorporates Agenda 2030 criteria in tourism and urban development plans. This regulation also encompasses environmental, natural, and historical heritage aspects. Travelers themselves are encouraged to be responsible, considering the environmental and cultural impact of their actions while exploring Quintana Roo.

Technology plays a crucial role in this transformation, serving as a tool to enhance the tourist experience. Cueto highlighted the significance of artificial intelligence in analyzing tourist operations and solving problems. He noted, “Artificial intelligence comes with new schemes for public and private services. It is vital for a destination to adapt to these trends, aware that tourism is a changing activity. The traveler is no longer the same, and we must offer them a differential and diversified product.”

Quintana Roo’s evolution from a traditional sun and beach destination to a cultural and sustainable tourism hub represents a significant shift in the travel industry. By focusing on its Mayan heritage and embracing technology, the state aims to provide travelers with unforgettable experiences while preserving its natural and cultural treasures for generations to come.

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