Tourism As A Development Strategy In The — страница 10

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landscape of the Central Valleys and show evidence of these intelligent, creative Indians when developing great civilisations. In the Valley of Oaxaca, 10 km west of the city, is the archaeological site of Monte Albán or `White Hill’ (Plate 4.23). Situated on an artificially-flattened hilltop, 400 metres above the Valley floor, it’s a stunning view of endless mountain peaks and valleys. The site dates back to 600 B.C., flourishing until 900 A.D. under Zapotec rule and then from 1200 A.D. until the Spanish conquest, under the Mixtecs. Monte Albán is centred around a central plaza and is noted for its remarkable architecture, clay urns and stone carvings, especially the `danzantes’ carvings of human figures (Plate 4.24). The site at Monte Albán is of great tourist

interest, with daily bus tours from Oaxaca City, official guides and other tourist facilities on site, catering to the needs of visitors. The regional government is attempting to make the site accessible for as many visitors as possible and is responsible for reconstructing some mounds to their original appearance (Plate 4.25). Various urns, masks, jewellery and other Zapotec and Mixtec artifacts have been excavated from tombs and are on display in museums in Oaxaca City. There are still many tombs that could be potentially excavated, when the money and the need arises. Into the Valley of Tlacolula, east of the city, is a mass of tourist attractions. The ruins of Yagul, Dainzú and Mitla, the market in Tlacolula, weavers in Teotitlán del Valle and the cypress tree at El Tule –

at over 2,000 years old it is claimed to have the largest girth of any tree in the world, at 42 metres round. These all add to the list of attractions used to lure visitors. Mitla, `City of the Dead’, was the last Mixtec-Zapotec site before the Spanish conquest. The outstanding feature is the architecture with its intricately carved designs and mosaic work. Being located further out from the city, accommodation and other tourist facilities have been provided in Mitla itself, encouraging a longer stay in the Valley. The Oaxacans have undisputedly been using aspects of their cultural life as tourist traps – archaeological sites, colonial architecture, festivities, markets, museums and cuisine, overall playing on their indigenous image, selling this image on postcards and in

travel brochures (Plates 4.26-4.28). Recently another tourist attraction was set up to reinforce this image, when in 1993, the Tourist Yú’ù was inaugurated. With the assistance of SEDETUR, eight small tourist houses were established in eight Indian villages each with their own charm (Plate 4.29, Fig. 4.23). Designed by a Dutch architect, in attempt to contribute to the development of the Oaxaca Valley, they have been built on an ecological basis, hinting at `green tourism’. The houses are painted bright turquoise and equipped with all basic facilities, the guests being able to meet and interact with the Zapotec Indians and in this way, villagers can make a living and the traditions and folklore of this ancient people can be preserved. The pleasant, subtropical climate and

tranquillity of the remote surroundings are what attract people, together with the ability to establish contact with the Zapotec people. An added attraction is the location of the Tourist Yú’ù, and their proximity to the many other attractions in the Valleys. The Oaxacan government recognizes the need for the training of people within the tourist industry, the inauguration of promotional campaigns and projects to attract national and international visitors to the area. The importance of improving the quality of present services and the installation of additional accommodation facilities, recreation centres, transportation means is established by the government and various authorities, in its attempt to strengthen the strategic role of tourist industry in the development of

the area. 4.3 – TOURISM IN THE COASTAL REGION For some travellers, Oaxaca City is merely a stopover on the way to a `laid-back’ stint on the Oaxacan coast (Fig. 4.31). Newly paved roads through mountainous country and more flights have brought this isolated region (an area of 12,500 sq. km) closer to the rest of Mexico since the mid 1970’s. Despite this, the two fishing villages-come-traveller’s havens of Puerto Escondido and Puerto Ángel are still relatively small and more relaxed than most idyllic coastal spots. In contrast, to the east is the site of a chosen megaproject on the once sparsely populated Bahías de Huatulco. These two regions are incredibly different in what they offer, their approach and hence the tourists they attract. PUERTO ESCONDIDO AND PUERTO