Taking Pride in our Heritage
“Tourism has changed Santo Domingo. Our beginnings in the tourism sector were difficult because the community was devoted almost exclusively to the cultivation of basic grains, livestock and the art of making crafts with mud. We knew almost nothing of tourism, but now we are a community of great tourist attraction.”
I am a Santo Domingo native from the department of Sonsonate in El Salvador, here I live with my family. I am the President of the Cooperative Association of Agricultural Artisanal Production for Tourists ‘Huitzapan´, which is the Nahuatl name of Santo Domingo; in Spanish it means ‘River of Thorns’.
Tourism has changed the lives of the families of Santo Domingo since we joined with the Ministry of Tourism in 2011. That was when they were forming the Nahuatl-Pipil Route with five other municipalities of Sonsonate through the project Strengthening Entrepreneurial capabilities of Indigenous Communities of Sonsonate through Ecotourism. It was funded by the Organization of American States (OAS).
Today there is much more tourism-related activity available to tourists, and we have linked to 170 handicraft workshops in red clay and wood to create ‘The Path of the Red Clay’. There you can find a variety of objects for decoration, others for use in the kitchen, and tourists can also learn how to handle the mud and create some traditional figures.
What I like about my job is that it combines tourism with the crafts and the Nahuatl language. In our community the majority of people speak Nahuatl. Thanks to tourism, we have been able to diversify the local economy and conserve our natural and cultural resources.
Medardo Hipólito López, El Salvador