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Pre Columbian Cultures In South America Tourism Essay

This essay will mention two very important pre-Columbian cultures in South America, the Mayan and Tihuanacotas and it would be crucial to know briefly why these two cultures attract tourists and are the most important for Mexico and Bolivia in their economy and therefore influence both countries’ societies. The Mayans are sedentary people who are geographically located in the territory of southern Mexico, Guatemala and other Central American areas. Their presence is particularly important their presence and influence in the territories of present Guatemala and Belize, with a rich history of 3,000 years (Delgado, 1999). Nowadays, tourists find the Mayan culture fascinating with characteristics such as their thirty native languages, their traditions which are still preserved although with some differences to the ancient ones, as is the case of the rituals that are now combined with some traditions of the Catholic religion. Their manmade clothing and traditional food are also an attraction not only for tourists but for local people from other regions (Peren,2007). Mayan culture contributes with 6% of the economy in Mexico, money that is nowadays added to the money gained by other touristic places and natural resources for it to be distributed to all the states in Mexico. (Rojas,2008).

Tiahuanaco is the most important archaeological site in the highlands at an altitude of 4000 meters above sea level. This culture was one of the greatest cultures of South America, as many things remain to be explored. It's called civilization of "Los hijos del sol" which in English is translated as "the sons of the sun", since their biggest inspiration was the sun. (Suarez, 1995) While the sun was their biggest inspiration, the moon could not remain in oblivion. It is believed that both were of great importance since they built two doors of large heavy stones. It is believed that only about 30% of Tiahuanaco’s civilization has been discovered. (Olivera,2009).It is important to mention that “Tiahuanaco contributes 9% of the economy of Bolivia and this money is directly reinvested in things such as education and health care in La Paz, capital city of Bolivia.” (Olivera, 2009).

In relation to their medicine, many people from Mexico and Bolivia are influenced by this ancients believing. Nowadays, in México, around 9 million people use traditional medicine.  (OMS, 2008) LA ESTRATEGIA MUNDIAL SOBRE MEDICINA TRADICIONAL (MT) This Traditional medicine is part of the attractions for tourists, representing a part of the past and present behaviour on local people, talking about the Mayan’s as a community and Mexican people being influenced daily by this kind of medicine. The Mayan’s medicines model is based on world view and spirituality. These elements, besides being the basis of their design, are also keystones in their practice means the health and disease, in terms of balance and imbalance between body, soul, Mother Nature and the universe as a whole. Health is the balance and the disease is the imbalance, this means the balance of energy, a balance that has to do with human beings and their relationship with nature and with the other elements of the cosmos and therefore this means that this should be understood as that health goes beyond the physical. (Eder, Karin & García, 2007) Another dimension of health from this perspective is the collective relationship, which also has important relationships with other human beings. It is not enough only to feel well as an individual, but also in to be in harmony with others and to achieve complete wellbeing. In this sense, the mechanisms for achieving balance (healing) deals with various elements such as the use of medicinal plants, carrying offerings, conduct ceremonies, going to the indigenous healers such as midwives, healers, spiritual leaders and Mayan priests. (Aqarib'al, 2002) “The Mayan culture has been studied for several years and been a reason of investment of many governments in Mexico and has been the place of work for many people from all the countries“(Jiménez, 1995)

In the other hand, the attraction that the Aymara's therapeutic system has, includes a variety of important etiological concepts regarding the origin and the causes of diseases and afflictions of human beings. The selection of the appropriate therapeutic model, in each case depends on how the illness is culturally defined and contextualized. In this way Aymara's healers can sharply distinguish the diseases which are contagious and have been caught from another person and from those who have developed the disease. (Suarez. 1995) People get sick due to various reasons and motives, some complaints have to do primarily with the patient's body, others involve the soul. It is precisely the patient's soul that is privileged in the aymaran medicine in the treatment of diseases and ailments that affect not only the body of the person, but also to their family and social environment. (Albó, 2000)

The economics is a very important consideration in tourism, as to the existence of an influx of people in the resort; it should draw people's attention with its good infrastructure and good service of the workers in the resort for tourists. The economic investment is large not only on facilities for tourists but also, before considering promoting a tourist destination, on some research so that they can discover new attractions in the place, such as pyramids or crafts that characterize this culture . The investment that must be done is high, but that is how the gain in a future is high and it supports the advancement of the tourism business, assisting greatly with the economy of a country. Regarding this topic, according to data released by the Mexican most significant organization related to tourism FONATUR (2010) about tourism trends, “it is estimated that by the year 2020, international tourist arrivals are above 1.560 million, while tourism revenues reached two billion dollars. These international tourist arrivals observed an average annual growth rate of 4.1%, while revenues increased 7.1% annually.”

Concerned about politics in this topic, the government of Mexico and Bolivia, have already spoken regarding the issue before, taking into account that one of their higher incomes in both countries are the tourism with cultures like the Mayan in Mexico and Tiahuanaco in Bolivia. Felipe Calderon, current president of Mexico said that tourism is a key sector for the economy of his country and regional development of it, generating many jobs,(Sectur,2006) and that's because each resort must hire many people so they can cover every need of it, such as scanners, receptionists, tourist guides or drivers of buses for transportation to the place and that is a local benefit to the society because it generates as said the president of Mexico, many jobs for people living in this country.

An important function of government is to create an administrative structure to design tourism products based on key inputs such as natural resources and man-made, such as traditions, customs, cuisine, folklore, among others, and as well this encourages the promotion, the development, the financing and the study of tourism. The President of Bolivia Evo Morales spoke on the topic and said that to show what Bolivia as a country has to offer, it must invest a strong economic capital and promote tourism internationally using international relationships with other countries in all continents. (Ministerio de culturas, 2011). One of their responsibilities in the cultural field, Elliot (1997) says in his book Suitable tourism II, is realize that if the government is involved in tourism it is not just to see it as a lucrative industry, but also as educational and cultural experience for both tourists and host community. Tourism has not only economic influence, but also environmental and in the local culture”.

The cultural meetings generated by this business causes an exchange of cultures, where participants live together and try to be accepted while mixing their customs. Also in this sense the government should act, not only for economic gains generated by tourism, but also the qualitative benefits that entails, to have a better effect and image to tourists, as a tourist destination and to be easily offered for the tourist market in the world. It is as well as the Mexican president is starting new diplomatic measures for Mexico to be promoted as a touristic place in other countries around the world, one of these measures is make the visa process faster, for tourists to be able to get a tourist visa without having to apply months in advance. (Sectur, 2006) Moreover, the Bolivian government of Evo Morales, plans to build more airports in different cities in Bolivia as there is various tourist attractions in Bolivia, so also wants to reach an agreement with an Irish airline operating in Bolivia for promotions that may exist in different flights so that tourists can come from the U.S. or Europe, without major spending large sums of money only in the passages of flight. (Ministerio de culturas,2011). It is really important to promote ethno tourisms in those countries, which mostly depend on the business, because their society benefits from the sources gain from it. Therefore, ethno tourism as a business needs to considered in many aspects, it needs to be organized for it to be according to the expectations of the tourist, after the tourist has been benefited with all the knowledge and comfort of the touristic place, this benefit will be transmitted to the society with not only the money that a tourist would spend in the country but also with the cultural exchange between the tourists and host community, moreover benefit the environment with new discoveries and protection for this valuable infrastructure.

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