Experiencias Xcaret, one of the participating companies in Nordic Innovation and OECD’s joint innovation programme, Green Business Model Innovation in the Tourism and Experience Economy, has had a sustainable approach to all operations since its inception in 1990.
Xcaret runs three natural parks in Cancun and Riviera Maya in the Mexican region Quintana Roo. The company offers its customers tourism experiences inspired by nature, life and the Mayan cultural legacy.
- We started doing sustainable tourism long before we knew that such a thing existed. The company’s founders simply shared a vision that was based on respect for our environment. It wasn’t until sustainable tourism was defined in the Rio Declaration that we could say, ‘it fits, this is what we do’, says Iliana Rodríguez, Chief Communications Officer at Experiencias Xcaret.
According to Rodríguez, sustainability is absolutely central for Xcaret’s business.
- Our core values are sustainability and love for Mexico. We are in the middle of the lush and beautiful jungle in Quintana Roo and in the land of the Maya. Our business is showing the beauty of the area, so it only makes sense to be respectful of our environment and of the Mexican culture, she explains.
Structured approach to green innovation
The Green Innovation Radar analyses, conducted during the Business Model Innovation programme, showed that Xcaret has a high level of innovation activity, and also that the green approach is essential in all innovation processes in the company.
- Our president, Miguel Quintana, is constantly developing new ideas, new parks and new activities. He is like a machine of new ideas. Previously, he did this alone, but for the last five years, he has been supported by an innovation committee, made up of his closest team of executives, says Rodríguez. She explains that this more structural approach has been a valuable asset in the generation and implementation of new ideas.
- The innovation committee creates new ideas with Quintana and provides input on how they should be developed. This enriches his visions for the company and the direct involvement in the innovation gets people even more enthusiastic about bringing new ideas to life, says Rodríguez.
Education for a sustainable company culture
Xcaret Group puts emphasis on educating both staff and visitors about the importance of being sustainable and showing them ways of protecting the nature. As an example of this, in 2011, 152.506 samples of chemical-free sun block were exchanged for visitors’ non-environmental sun block.
- Education has a huge importance in transferring the idea of sustainability to our staff and customers. All new staff members go through an induction course where they are introduced to our company philosophy, and afterwards, they are invited to experience the parks with their families. This is the best way to introduce them to our sustainable approach, says Rodríguez.
- We are very fortunate, because we have been able to incorporate sustainability in all our activities and our business culture. Even our accountants know that they have to carefully consider our sustainability policy and the company philosophy in everything they do, she continues.
Passion and motivation are recurring expressions in Rodríguez’ explanation of how Xcaret has been successful in implanting the idea of sustainability in the entire company culture.
- We have people in our direction staff, experts in Mexican culture, biologists, veterinarians, sustainability experts and so on, who think of the project as their own life project. These people have found a place where they can develop their passion and they make sure that all new ideas fit with the company’s sustainability policy, says Rodríguez.
- It starts with the passion and then it evolves into a corporate philosophy through education. When you educate your employees in the spirit of the company, they become your best advocates, says Iliana Rodríguez from Experiencias Xcaret.