From: The Stream

Is the Mayan prophecy being exploited for profit?

Indigenous groups say they’ve been largely left out of tourism plans.

As the end of the Mayan long count calendar approaches, countries such as Mexico, Guatemala and Belize have launched tourism campaigns aimed at promoting travel to renowned Mayan cultural sites. The interpretation of the calendar has led to the belief among some that Dec 21, 2012 marks the end of civilisation.

Mexico, for example, is planning to spend millions of dollars in states that make up parts of the Mayan world and host hundreds of cultural events. But will the tourism boom benefit the Mayan people?

Indigenous Mayan claim they have not been entirely included in these plans and that their communities will benefit minimally. There are also concerns that their culture is being misrepresented.

In this episode of The Stream, we speak to Quetzil Castañeda, professor of anthropology at Indiana University, and Alejandra Garcia Quintanilla, senior researcher at the Autonomous University of Yucatan.

What do you think? Are countries’ tourism initiatives taking advantage of and misrepresenting the Maya culture?
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