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RUTOPÍA, the Mexican Airbnb at the service of indigenous communities

7. Community involvement


RUTOPÍA is an online travel platform that provides Mexican communities with commercial tools to sell their tourism offer. In a collaborative logic, it connects communities and travelers in search of authentic experiences.

This initiative responds to a challenge for communities: they have the talent and infrastructure to offer popular tourism offers but lack the commercial means to reach the market. Moreover, Mexican tourism is centralized around tourism hubs to the detriment of these communities. To address this problem, Rutopía provides them with reservation software, payment methods and customer service to help them exploit their tourism potential.

As part of a collaborative approach, this activity allows the creation and redistribution of value and benefits both communities and travellers.


  • Enabling indigenous communities to sell their tourism offer

  • Decentralize tourism and create economically stable communities

  • Fostering ethical and sustainable tourism

  • Enhancing the country's cultural and natural heritage and preserving biodiversity

  • Offer a unique, complete and safe experience to travellers


Rutopía offers an alternative to classic tourism thanks to an economic model based on a horizontal structure. Its services benefit the communities that keep control of their offer, with Rutopía simply facilitating the exchange.

To do this, it relies on pre-existing community projects identified by local tour operators. From the outset, these communities are provided with the various resources necessary to develop their tourism offer. Indeed, they are already organized in balanced working groups, composed of the various complementary roles within the community. These include guides, agricultural experts, cooks, artisans and drivers. They also have a common decision-making process.

Rutopía is in charge of accompanying them in the formalization of their tourism offer and providing them with the commercial tools to offer it online. For this purpose, a reservation software, means of payment and customer service are made available to the communities.

In a collaborative logic, the indigenous communities, the main actors in this approach, directly receive 80% of the benefits resulting from this activity in order to stimulate and stabilize the local economy. At the same time, they enhance the value of their heritage and preserve their environment.

Tourists, for their part, benefit from a unique, safe and complete stay and contribute to the enhancement of the territory.

The success of this model is based on the 20% profit made on each transaction, ensuring its long-term viability.


  • In 2 years, Rutopía has collaborated with 140 communities

  • Expected growth of 80% next year and plans to expand into new South American countries

  • Thanks to its business model, Rutopía returns 80% of each transaction to the local communities and makes a profit of 20%

  • 2018: WEGE award for its circular economy model, 2019: Hult award for its social entrepreneurial spirit

  • Recent partnership with Airbnb


  • Creation of local jobs and increase of the population's income

  • Revaluation of the heritage and cultural heritage of each destination

  • Creating social links with local communities

  • Development of eco-responsible and sustainable businesses

  • Increase in the number of visitors to these places: 38 million foreign travellers in 1 year

This Best Practice has been translated voluntarily by an anonymous contributor. If you have any comments, please contact

8 (2020)


Francisco Sosa 29, Coyoacán
04000 Ciudad de México


Emiliano Iturriaga

PDG et fondateur

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Mise à jour le 16/03/2020

Creative Commons Attribution This work by Réseau Alliances – World Forum Lille is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.