Translating: Can tourism promotion be crowdsourced?
My view: tourism promotion is catalyzed by the ever curious crowd. Marketing geniuses and tourism officials know something has changed.
The source for our tips come from good friends AND passionate if not highly opinionated strangers, some knowingly, others not, how their tips and recommendations, their photos and status update from daily life — these views are read by us, good friends and random strangers. We weave our own views and when we’re lucky, we have actual weavers in the mix. Case in point: Luis Lazo Mendoza from Teotitlán del Valle, subject of an evergreen Transitions Abroad story on responsible travel photography.
Luis I met via his mother Angela who sells weavings at the Pochimilco Market. This meeting was back in 2005. Later after a mini crisis, I started taking photos to promote the family in 2006. After the mini crisis was the big crisis in 2006, something which I find hard to believe that 2016 will be the 10 year anniversary. But back to Luis. A fantastic weaver, he had trouble with computers. I was in no hurry and I’m a strong believer in acompañamiento – the accompanying – rather than try to teach ‘workshops’ with zero follow-through. Ten years later and Luis has accounts on Facebook and Google+ and my weaving abilities are still non-existent. On the plus side, the entire Lazo Mendoza family have been wonderful and kind Zapotec language teachers.
I bring up all of this because I would recommend to any world traveler with a fondness for world crafts, make your own fanart for an artisan. Talk our friends up! Learn their languages and tweet and retweet in Zapotec! I will vouch that anyone who visits the Pochote Market today and gets to visit with Angela, Luis, Sergio, Veronica (who am I missing?) will have a splendid conversation. Even better, the Pochote Market has many good friends with candy, pulses, ceramics, weavings, mezcal, mole and chocolate. Did I mention Chocoluchy is available and sold by Señora Lucia? Still even better Pochote has a Facebook page. Visit them, like them.