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

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.

About TUI Care Foundation

Building on the potential of tourism as a force for good, the TUI Care Foundation supports and initiates partnerships and projects, which create new opportunities for the young generation and contribute to thriving communities all over the world. Connecting holidaymakers to good causes, the TUI Care Foundation fosters education and training initiatives to open up new opportunities and perspectives for young people, the protection of the natural environment in holiday destinations and sustainable livelihoods in thriving destinations where local communities can benefit even more from tourism. TUI Care Foundation works global and acts local – it builds on strong partnerships with local and international organisations to create meaningful and long lasting impact. The charitable foundation values transparency and the efficient use of funds. Therefore 100% of the donations go to destination programmes with all administration costs of the foundation covered by TUI. TUI Care Foundation was founded by TUI, the world’s leading tourism business, and is based in the Netherlands.

About Limatours Foundation

Lima Tours Foundation is a Peruvian non-profit organisation founded in 2008 as an expression of the institutional commitment of Lima Tours to Peru. It was created to play an active part in the development of a society in Peru in which culture, education, and equality of opportunity for development are available to everybody. Its aim is to generate positive and lasting structural changes that increase the well-being of the most vulnerable people in Peru.

"Crafting magnificent experiences in Peru, one guest at a time” has been LimaTours’ motto ever since its foundation in 1956. Offering innovative and enriching journeys while taking care of every detail when designing and managing clients’ trips is something LimaTours prides itself on; warm hospitality and attention to detail are some of the trademarks that have led to successful operations and leadership position of this tour operator.

About Donia Way

Donia Way’s mission is to create and develop tourism and cultural promotion projects that share and promote the reach and conservation of cultural elements (human, ecological, artisanal, historical, gastronomic and others). Its main project Donia Way is the ambassador brand of Yucatán and the organisation focuses on promoting Yucatecan culture through digital content and artisanal products.