Berlin, 15 May 2023

TUI Colourful Cultures Programme: Two projects launched by the TUI Care Foundation in Mexico and Peru to support traditional artisanry

  • TUI Colourful Cultures Peru supports the livelihoods of 150 female artisans in rural indigenous communities of the Patacancha basin and creates connections with new customers

  • TUI Colourful Cultures Mexico celebrates traditional Mayan heritage through the creation of Way Tun, a character serving as an ambassador to the living culture of the Mexican Caribbean

Berlin, 15th May 2023. Many rural communities across Latin America pass on traditional ways of weaving and producing handicrafts from generation to generation. However, the lack of integration of their craft in the tourism value chain often means that their livelihoods cannot be guaranteed and that their ancestral customs and traditions are not provided with the timeless protection that they deserve.This is why the TUI Care Foundation has initiated two new projects to support local artisans in Peru and Mexico, using tourism as a force for the protection of unique cultural heritage.  

In Peru, there are over 80,000 artisans, 13,600 of which come from rural communities in Cusco - and most of them are women (source: Bron Ministerio de Comercio Exterior y Turismo). The pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of the country's informal employment sector, with many artisans having no savings. Without social protection, their situation deteriorated. Many traditional artisans also face a lack of access to education, which also means it’s hard for them to benefit from the successful development of tourism in their communities.   

TUI Colourful Cultures Peru, a project launched together with the Limatours Foundation, aims to empower 135 female artisans from five different indigenous communities of the Patacancha basin to help create sustainable livelihoods for them. Organised into a cooperative, the artisans are provided with materials and weekly technical support from a designer in order to produce high-quality products. The project then connects them to a customer base by securing attendance at local and international artisan fairs, exhibitions, and networks them with potential customers from the tourism industry such as accommodation providers. Through the project, the cooperative itself will also be able to develop its own business model.   

Meanwhile, in the Mexican region of Quintana Roo, socio-economic inequality and a loss of cultural identity are prevalent in the economically marginalised Mayan communities. Quintana Roo revolves around the hotel and entertainment industry on the coast, too often leaving aside the rich history and natural beauty of the rest of the region. The prospect of achieving a good job in the tourism or entertainment industry, and the lack of perspectives in their communities, forces many people from rural communities to leave behind their roots and cultural background. This endangers indigenous culture as a whole.   

Together with Mérida-based and family-owned business Donia Way, TUI Colourful Cultures Mexico is developing a character that will help preserve and share the unique, diverse and indigenous Mayan culture with locals and tourists alike. The character Way Tun will be the face of a line of artisanal products. The sales of these unique products will contribute to the livelihoods of ten independent artists from Mayan communities who are collaborating with the project. 20 women artisans will also receive technical support and learn new skills through workshops covering sales, costs and production.   

Both projects are part of the international TUI Colourful Cultures Programme which protects cultural heritage and empowers creatives in tourism destinations like Zambia, Turkey and Kenya. 

Way Tun on Instagram

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