How did ‘homestay tourism’ begin on Taquile?
Doing a bit of history, tourism started in the 1960ies when a group of investigators visited the island. In the 1970ies, tourism started growing and at that time we did not have the services required by the tourists. We had to use simple sailboats and offer accommodation in our houses.
For those reasons we positioned ourselves as pioneers in homestay tourism. In the 1980ies, we succeeded in constructing some restaurants, some rural lodging, and change our sailboats for motorboats. This was all administered by the mayor and his staff (some of the authorities on the island). The tourist would arrive at the main port where they were registered and distributed to different host families.
In this way everybody benefitted equally. Because of tourism we are now producing textiles more frequently; formerly we only made it for our own use. Today, we also weave and knit to sell to the tourists. This improves our income and the whole village has benefitted because it has given us the opportunity to build a handcrafts’ center, make paved pathways and ports for the boats among other things.
Before there were very few agencies that brought tourists to the island and they all coordinated with the authorities to respect the rotation system that was established by the people. Unfortunately, in the year 1991 with the free market and the law of supply and demand, agencies and tour operators grew and constituted themselves in Puno. Since 1995, they have managed to change the classic routes including the one to Amantaní.
They changed the packages Full Day and VIP programs which turned Taquile into a place of brief tours and lunch rather than a place to spend the night. Tourist agencies in Puno proposed to several people from villages to serve them exclusively and send travelers to them.
This started a hard competition between us that lowered the prices. In 2005 the Danish cooperation, in partnership with the NGOs Ibis, DIB and Axis, started working on the island with a project under the name of institutional strengthening and territorial management. Since then, there has been developed various activities in cooperation with Axis that continues until this day.
How did our travel agency Munay Taquile emerge? Seeing how several travel agencies and operators in Puno exploited the community, the whole community of the island Taquile gathered on the 9th of July 2008 to form a common tourism agency for the community. Munay Taquile was thus established as the community’s tourism agency by the island’s political authorities supported by our cooperative Axis.
It started out in the year 2009 as EMCOMTOUR its commercial brand-name being Munay Taquile. It was registered in public records with the RUC SUNAT N. 20,447,960,665 and was also known as Munay Taquile in other tourism related institutes such as MINCETUR, DIRCETUR, IPERU.
Since then, Munay Taquile is receiving formal training organized by DIRCETUR and MINCETUR to be able to manage the community agency. This is also offered to the ones who provide tourist services on Taquile.