By Inside México Original Print Publication: November, 2007
25 Brilliant, Innovative and Visionary Mexicans 2007
You know who President Felipe Calderon is, and also recognize his nemesis, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, from the tense 2006 presidential election. You know who Carlos Slim is and, if you live in Mexico, chances are you write him at least one check a month. You can read former President Vicente Fox’s new book in English. Actress Salma Hayek just had a baby. You swooned when actor Gael Garcia Bernal (who is Mexican) played Che Guevara (who wasn’t). But aren’t you bored of seeing the same old names in the headlines?
That’s why we decided to apply some fresh thought to the idea of the “top” list. We looked North and South, solicited input from editors, journalists and people “in the know” around Mexico, gathered a long list and went into the war room. We wanted interesting people who added dimension to our sense of what Mexico is and can be. It got heated, but in the end we came out with 25 amazing people. Once we had the list we had to chase our busy subjects down. Our team went out to interview and research the nominees, and we got some of the most talented photographers around to take their portraits. The resulting group of 25 scientists, economists, journalists, chefs, artists, conservationists, entrepreneurs, producers, activists, philanthropists and athletes are presented here for your consideration.
Carlos Marín experienced an entrepreneur’s epiphany about 10 years ago, while exploring some of the more isolated areas of the Yucatán Peninsula.
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- 25 Mexicans: Subcomandante Marcos, spokesman
He and some adventurous friends articulated a vision of a different kind of tourism, one that would protect ecosystems and benefit the economic and social development of local Mayan communities. Today, Marín, an industrial engineer who loves nature, is known as an innovator in the field.
After working for other people, Marín and his friends-cum-partners, decided to embark on a new path. Armed with a passion for Mayan culture, a smart business plan and the dream of a better life for himself and his family, Marín decided to start Alltournative.
“The desire to try something new was there. So was the need for a project like Alltournative. It was the right place and the right time. And it was the right decision,” he says.
He never imagined the effect the ecotourism and adventure outfit would have on his life and the lives of hundreds of people in the Playa del Carmen and Cancun region. The company employs 300 people, and has had a positive impact in the small communities where Alltournative works, where migration to the US, previously as high as 30 or 40%, has dropped to almost zero.
“I think the secret to succeeding with a new business is to offer something different…to find a market that isn’t being targeted by other businesses,” says Marín.
Any new venture faces challenges, and in Marín’s case, these include hurricanes, but the ecological and social impact of Alltournative motivates him to try and be the best option for adventure expeditions in the Mayan region. He believes he has achieved this goal, with a company that many are looking to as a model for sustainable business practices.
Note: This article was originally published in our November, 2007 issue.