Tourism In Mexico Essay Conclusion

Tourism in Mexico is a huge industry. Since the 1960s it has been heavily promoted by the Mexican government, as "an industry without smokestacks."[1] Mexico has traditionally been among the most visited countries in the world according to the World Tourism Organization, and it is the second-most visited country in the Americas, after the United States. Mexico has a significant number of UNESCO World Heritage sites with the list including ancient ruins, colonial cities, and natural reserves, as well as a number of works of modern public and private architecture. Mexico has attracted foreign visitors beginning in the early nineteenth century,[2] cultural festivals, colonial cities, nature reserves and the beach resorts. The nation's temperate climate and unique culture – a fusion of the European and the Mesomerican are attractive to tourists. The peak tourism seasons in the country are during December and the mid-Summer, with brief surges during the week before Easter and Spring break, when many of the beach resort sites become popular destinations for college students from the United States.

The majority of tourists come to Mexico from the United States and Canada. Other visitors come from Europe and Asia. A small number of tourists also come from other Latin American countries.[3]

History of tourism[edit]

Tourism in Mexico developed following the establishment of the Mexican republic, with writings by Alexander von Humboldt, Frannie Calderón de la Barca, the wife of the Spanish Ambassador to Mexico; John Lloyd Stephens, and Edward B. Tylor being important for attracting more travelers.[4] Tourists from the United States began arriving in Mexico in numbers starting in the 1880s, following construction of direct railway lines in Mexico to the U.S. border. General Porfirio Díaz became president of Mexico by coup in 1876, the beginning of a long period of peace in Mexico following decades of civil war. With the inauguration of direct Pullman service from the U.S. to Mexico in 1884, tourists no longer endured difficult and dangerous travel. The Mexican Central Railway actively promoted tourism in the United States, hiring a professional photographer, William Henry Jackson, to visually record the route and a professional writer, James W. Steel, to write promotional copy. Guides for English-speaking tourists were also published, most notably Terry's Guide to Mexico, which went through several editions at the beginning of the twentieth century. Mexico appealed to American tourists seeking an "exotic" holiday.It was promoted in 1890 as the "Egypt of the New World."[5] With the 1910 centennial of Mexican independence, the government undertook an excavation and reconstruction of the Pyramid of the Sun at the huge archeological site of Teotihuacan, near Mexico City. A railway line was constructed from the capital to the site, bringing scholars from the 1910 meeting of the International Congress of Americanists. In addition, the National Museum of Anthropology was refurbished in advance of the celebrations, in anticipation of tourists. Mexico was a beneficiary of the increasing tourism of Europeans and Americans to distant lands. In Mexico, many tourists brought home real or fake relics, and often left graffiti.[6]

The Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) interrupted tourism in Mexico, but by the 1930s, the Mexican government began promoting tourism again with posters of light-skinned young women and lush gardens.[7] In the 1920s and 30s, there was an "enormous vogue of things Mexico" in the United States, resulting in cultural exchanges, temporary and permanent art exhibitions, and patronage of Mexican artists, such as muralistsDiego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco.[8]

The Mexican government developed beach resorts in Acapulco and Cancún for tourists.[9][10] The importance of tourism in Mexico is seen its head having a cabinet-level position.[2] Attracting tourists from the developed world spurred the construction of upscale hotels, particularly by U.S. hotel chains.[11]San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato developed as an artists' colony. Unlike beach resorts developed by the Mexican government, San Miguel was promoted to tourists by locals.[12]

Starting in the late twentieth century, Mexico has been alert to international venues to both protect tourist destinations such as archeological sites, colonial cities, and natural wonders via UNESCO World Heritage Sites. With the inauguration of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage program, Mexico has certified the cultural importance of Days of the Dead (2003), Mexican cuisine (2010), mariachi music (2011), and charrería (2016), among others. Private philanthropy has played an important role in the preservation and restoration of a number of Mexican sites, most prominently by entrepreneur Carlos Slim, whose Foundation for the Historic Center of the City of Mexico (Fundación del Centro Histórico de la Ciudad de México) has made a significant difference in the historic core of the capital, including security concerns.[13]

Violence and political turmoil in Mexico has been a problem which affects travel and tourism. The years of the Porfirio Díaz regime (1876-1911) saw a decrease in violence and the rise of tourism. The Mexican Revolution 1910-20 was a major civil war, but following that the Mexican government achieved a level internal security that saw the rise of tourism and cultural exchanges in the 1920s and 1930s. In recent years, with the drug war in Mexico, U.S. State Department travel advisories have alerted tourists to the dangers of certain areas of the country.[14][15]

Tourist Guides and web-based sources[edit]

Mexico travel guide from Wikivoyage

There are a number of useful print guide books to tourist sites in Mexico, including the Michelin Green Guide, Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, Fodor's, Frommer's, and Baedeker's. The Mexican tourist bureau has a website with many resources. Travel websites vary in quality and usefulness. The English-language Wikipedia sister project on travel, Wikivoyage, was launched in 2013 and has information about Mexican tourism generally as well as specialized travel information for a number of tourist destinations in Mexico.

Tourism industry competitiveness[edit]

In the 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) report, which is a measurement of the factors that make it attractive to developing business in the travel and tourism industry of individual countries, Mexico was ranked 22nd place in the world's ranking, with tourist service infrastructure rank 43; price competitiveness 63; health and hygiene, 72; safety and security, 113; environmental sustainability, 116.[16]


Most visitors arriving to Mexico by air for tourism come from the following countries:[17]

1 United States9,417,60110,340,463
2 Canada1,781,4691,985,084
3 United Kingdom545,055563,099
4 Colombia439,689485,371
5 Argentina405,959474,248
6 Spain361,498377,349
7 Brazil307,439376,520
8 Germany255,940277,352
9 France233,901260,821
10 Peru182,042212,613

City and regional destinations[edit]

Mexico has distinct geographical and cultural regions. Many Mexican cities in Central and Southern Mexico were the centers of indigenous populations in the prehispanic era and became administrative centers during the colonial era (1521-1821), with churches, government buildings, and residences of elites. Some cities in Mexico's North were founded in the colonial era or nineteenth century, but have grown in importance with the expansion of Mexican industry (Monterrey), and cross-border trade with the U.S. (Ciudad Juárez, Tijuana).

Central Mexico[edit]

Mexico City[edit]

Main article: Mexico City

See also: Historic center of Mexico City and History of Mexico City

Mexico City is the capital of Mexico, and its most important city. The historic center of Mexico City is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with ancient archeological ruins, numerous colonial-era churches, most importantly the Cathedral, and the former palace of the Viceroy of New Spain, now the National Palace. The cathedral and National Palace are both located on the main plaza, known as the Zocalo. The city has museums of many types, housing cultural treasures of Mexico's history since ancient times to the modern era. One guide rates the National Museum of Anthropology as the top place to visit in Mexico City,[18] located in Chapultepec Park, itself a top tourist attraction for foreign visitors and Mexico City residents. Other museums worth a visit are the Museo de Arte Moderno, the Museo Dolores Olmedo, the Franz Mayer Museum, the Frida Kahlo Museum, the Museo Rufino Tamayo, the archeological museum of the Templo Mayor, adjacent to the National Palace and cathedral; and the Museo Nacional de Historia in Chapultepec Castle, the former residence of viceroys of Mexico, Emperor Maximilian I, and presidents of Mexico until the early twentieth century.

Mexico City can be the jumping off point for day-trips and short excursions in Central Mexico, including the hugely important archeological site of Teotihuacan. Another important site is Tula, the capital of the Toltecs. Colonial-era cities worth a visiting are Puebla, Taxco, Toluca, and Cuernavaca. Tepotzotlan is notable for its Museum of the Viceroyalty, with colonial-era art.


Southern Mexico[edit]

Southern Mexico is the home of many surviving indigenous cultures and is a destination for many foreign and domestic tourists in Mexico. The dense indigenous populations in the prehispanic era saw the rise of civilizations, with enormous archeological sites indicating their complexity. The rugged terrain of southern Mexico and the lack of mineral wealth drawing large numbers of Spanish settlers in the colonial era and in the post-independence era has meant that southern Mexico remains highly indigenous in character.


Oaxaca in central southern Mexico has remained highly indigenous into the modern era and the destination for tourists wishing to experience the various indigenous cultures there. The capital of the state is Oaxaca City, is where most tourists stay, after arrival by plane at the major airport. Tourists can use the capital as a base for day-trip excursions outside the capital to visit towns specializing in particular crafts, often sold in traditional local markets (tianguis). Craft-making towns include Santa María Atzompa,(pottery); San Bartolo Coyotepec, (black pottery); Ocotlán, Oaxaca (pottery); San Martín Tilcajete, fantastical carvings called (alebrijes); and Teotitlan del Valle, rugs. Oaxacan cuisine is notable, with ingredients, such as salted and dried grasshoppers (chapulines), and flavors that are regional.

Places worth visiting outside of the capital include the major archeological site of Monte Alban, as well as Mitla. There are numerous towns with markets and craft production.

Yucatan Peninsula and Chiapas[edit]

The peninsula has a considerable number of major archeological sites, including Chichén Itza, Uxmal, and the La Ruta Puuc, a series of small archeological sites. The state capital of Mérida was founded in the colonial era and experienced a major boom in the nineteenth century with the expansion for the market for its sisal cordage or twine, so that the city has a number of mansions of the former sisal barons. Campeche is Mexico's only walled city.

The Mexican state of Chiapas has the archeological sites of Palenque, Bonampak, and Yaxchilán. The capital Tuxtla Gutiérrez is the gateway to the region, with a major airport. San Cristóbal de las Casas, named after the early xixteenth-century defender of indigenous rights, Fr. Bartolomé de las Casas is a colonial-era provincial city.

Central West Mexico[edit]

Tourist destinations include Aguascalientes, Guadalajara, Guanajuato, Manzanillo, Morelia, Pátzcuaro, Querétaro, San Miguel de Allende, and Zacatecas.


Guadalajara, Jalisco, the second-largest Mexican city by population, is home of some of Mexico's best known traditions, such as tequila, mariachi music and charros, or Mexican cowboys. Its similitude with western European countries mixed with modern architecture and infrastructure makes Guadalajara very attractive to tourists. Along with Mexico City and beach destinations (Cancun, Acapulco, etc.), Guadalajara is one of the most visited cities in Mexico. Cultural tourism is the main attraction, the city being home to a large number of museums, art galleries and theatres. The city is also the host of several internationally renowned events, such as the Guadalajara International Book Fair which is the most important exposition of its kind in the Spanish-speaking world, and the second largest book fair in the world.[19] The city is known as a pioneer in the underground arts scene as well as in the electronic music world, another main touristic attraction. Its diversity of European architectural styles is a focus of attraction for tourists, in particular the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Degollado Theatre and the Hospicio Cabañas which is a World Heritage Site and one of the oldest hospital complexes in Spanish America. Other tourism activities include shopping at its world class shopping malls, or plazas, taking a tour to the surrounding areas such as the Huentitan Canyon, Tonalá, Tlaquepaque, Chapala or visiting nearby towns, which are well-connected by modern highways, such as Tequila, Puerto Vallarta or Mazamitla, depending upon whether visitors seek urban, coastal or rural getaways.


Morelia, Michoacán is the Capital of the State of Michoacán. Its Historic Downtown Area (Centro Histórico) encompasses approximately 150 city blocks in the city centre, roughly corresponding to the actual area of the city at the end of the 18th century. The Centro Historico contains over 1,000 historical sites, including (but not limited to) the cathedral and the aqueduct.

Northeast Mexico[edit]


Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, was founded in the late 16th century. The downtown district is the oldest section in the city, surrounded by newer neighbourhoods. The Museo de Historia Mexicana (Museum of Mexican History), MARCO (Monterrey Museum of Contemporary Art), Metropolitan Museum of Monterrey and the Museum of the Palacio de Gobierno, or State House, are some of the better known museums in the city, as well as nationally. The Santa Lucia Riverwalk is a riverwalk similar to the one in San Antonio, Texas, having a length of 2.5 km (1.6 mi) and connecting the Fundidora Park with the Macroplaza, one of the largest plazas in the world.

Northwest Mexico[edit]

Northwest Mexico has a few major tourist destinations, including Chihuahua City and Mazatlan. The Copper Canyon Railway travels through rugged scenery.


  • Acapulco, Guerrero
  • Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur
  • Cancún, Quintana Roo
  • Ensenada, Baja California
  • Altamira, Tamaulipas
  • Guaymas, Sonora
  • Tampico, Tamaulipas
  • Puerto Peñasco, Sonora (Also Called Rocky Point)
  • Huatulco, Oaxaca
  • Ixtapa, Guerrero
  • Manzanillo, Colima
  • Mazatlán, Sinaloa
  • Mazunte, Oaxaca
  • Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo
  • Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca
  • Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
  • San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur
  • Progreso, Yucatan
  • Zipolite, Oaxaca

The coastlines of Mexico harbor many stretches of beaches that are frequented by sun bathers and other visitors. On the Yucatán peninsula, one of the most popular beach destinations is the resort town of Cancún, especially among universitystudents during spring break. Just offshore is the beach island of Isla Mujeres, and to the east is the Isla Holbox. To the south of Cancun is the coastal strip called Riviera Maya which includes the beach town of Playa del Carmen and the ecological parks of Xcaret and Xel-Há. A day trip to the south of Cancún is the historic port of Tulum. In addition to its beaches, the town of Tulum is notable for its cliff-side Mayan ruins.

On the Pacific coast is the notable tourist destination of Acapulco. Once the destination for the rich and famous, the beaches have become crowded and the shores are now home to many multi-story hotels and vendors. Acapulco is home to renowned cliff divers: trained divers who leap from the side of a vertical cliff into the surf below.

Along the coast to the south of Acapulco are the surfing beaches of Puerto Escondido, the snorkeling, harbor beach of Puerto Ángel, and the naturist beaches of Zipolite. To the north of Acapulco is the resort town of Ixtapa and the neighboring fishing town of Zihuatanejo. Further to the north are the wild and rugged surfing beaches of the Michoacán coast.

Along the central and north Pacific coast, the biggest draws are beaches of Mazatlán city and the resort town of Puerto Vallarta. Less frequented is the sheltered cove of Bahía de Navidad, the beach towns of Bahía Kino, and the black sands of Cuyutlán. San Carlos, home of the Playa los Algodones (Cotton Beach), is a winter draw, especially for retirees.

At the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula is the resort town of Cabo San Lucas, a town noted for its beaches and marlinfishing.[20] Further north along the Gulf of California is the Bahía de La Concepción, another beach town known for its sports fishing. Closer to the United States border is the weekend draw of San Felipe, Baja California.

Archeological sites[edit]

See also: List of Mesoamerican pyramids

The central and southern parts of Mexico was where a number of pre-Hispanic civilizations developed, the most prominent being the Aztec, Mayan, and the Olmec as well as Zapotec and Mixtec. There are numerous tourist destinations where these ruins can be viewed. The Mexican government has taken jurisdiction of many sites, often setting guidelines for excavation, preservation, and limitations on numbers of visitors, but nearby indigenous communities, who see these sites as part of their direct cultural heritage, object to those regulations.[21]

The Yucatán peninsula was home to the Mayan people, and many of the indigenous people still speak the language. The area also contains many sites where ruins of the Maya civilization can be visited. The richest of these are located in the eastern half of the peninsula and are collectively known as La Ruta Puuc (or La Ruta Maya). The largest of the Ruta Puuc sites is Uxmal, which was abandoned in the 12th century.

A one-hour drive to the northeast of Ruta Puuc are the surviving remains of the city of Mayapán. This settlement was controlled by Chichén Itzá to the east, now a large archaeological site with many interesting ruins. Other ruins on the peninsula include the aforementioned Tulum on the east coast, Cobá to the northwest of Tulum, Polé (now Xcaret) just south of Playa del Carmen and Calakmul in the nature reserve along the Guatemala border. However this list by no means exhausts the number of archaeological sites to be found in this area.

To the west, the state of Chiapas includes the temples and ruins of Palenque, the glyphs of the city of Yaxchilán, the painted walls of nearby Bonampak, and the remains of the fortress of Toniná. In the city of Villahermosa to the north is the Parque-Museo La Venta, with a collection of Olmec sculptures.

Along the gulf coast area in the state of Veracruz are more archaeological sites, with the Olmec ceremonial center of Tres Zapotes, the ruins of the large Totonac city of Zempoala, and the ruins of El Tajín with the Pyramid of the Niches. The city of Xalapa contains the Museo de Antropología, a notable museum featuring a collection of massive Olmec head sculptures.

In the state of Oaxaca along the Pacific coast are the ruins of Mitla, known as the "City of Death" and of Monte Albán, the remains of the once extensive Zapotec capital and religious center.

Moving to the north, the central region around Mexico City contains several archaeological sites. To the southwest are the massive ruins of Teotihuacán, including the Pyramid of the Sun and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. To the southeast near the city of Cholula is the Great Pyramid, visible from the city center. Just to the north of Cholula are the well-preserved ruins of the city of Cacaxtla. Last but not least is the Toltec capital of Tula, to the north of Mexico City. In the capital itself is the largest museum in Mexico, the Museo Nacional de Antropología.

Finally, less visited than the major sites are the mysterious ruins of La Quemada, sometimes referred to as Chicomostoc, located south of Zacatecas, Zacatecas in the northern half of Mexico.

Ethnic cultural tourism[edit]

Tourists often also seek destinations with living indigenous cultures, such as in Oaxaca and Yucatan. Traditional markets in many small towns have a mixture of ordinary foodstuffs and supplies for the local populations, as well as market-sellers of craft goods that are locally produced. In the state of Oaxaca, various towns specialize in particular crafts, such as weaving of rugs (Teotitlan del Valle) and black pottery (Coyotepec).[22] Some production of Mexican handcrafts and folk art is traditional, and is particularly practiced in Oaxaca, but some artisans respond to tourist demand crafting products for that market exclusively. The Guelaguetza, an annual festival of music and dance by indigenous communities in Oaxaca gives reinforcement of local traditions and deliberately seeks tourists as attendees, staged now in an amphitheater.[21][23] Another event that is promoted touristically is Mexico's Days of the Dead[24] at the beginning of November and has been listed as a protected cultural practice, entered on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. Towns with specialized crafts:

  • San Pablito, Puebla (amate paper)
  • Santa María Atzompa, Oaxaca (pottery)
  • San Bartolo Coyotepec Oaxaca (pottery)
  • Ocotlán, Oaxaca (pottery, blades)
  • San Martín Tilcajete, Oaxaca (alebrijes)
  • Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacan (copper crafts)
  • Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca (rugs)
  • Temoaya, State of Mexico (rugs)
  • Tlalpujahua, Michoacan (Christmas ornaments)
  • Tlaquepaque, Jalisco (pottery)
  • Tonalá, Jalisco (pottery, glass, etc.)
  • Tenancingo, State of Mexico (rebozos, basketry, furniture)

Gallery of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in Mexico[edit]

Main article: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists

Cancun, a major tourist destination
Tulum, ancient Maya ruins near the beach resort of Cancun.
Monument to the Mexican Revolution, Mexico City. The remains of a number of Mexican leaders of the Revolution are buried there. A museum to the Revolution is underneath the monument.
The clear waters of Xel-Ha beach





Economic Impacts
Environmental Impacts
Socio-Cultural Impacts




A. Map oł Mexico
B. Contribution oł Tourism to Economic Growth


The Federal Republic of Mexico is located in Middle America, bordering the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea in the east of the country and the Pacific Ocean in the west. As one can see in Appendix A, the three adjoining states are the United States in the north and Belize and Guatemala in the south. The capital is Mexico City. The population of Mexico is approximately 105 million of which the greatest part are Mestizos (Amerindian-Spanish). 89 percent of the people are Roman Catholics. Due to Spanish influences Spanish is still the official language. However, over 100 Native American languages still exist.

Cancún is the most visited tourist destination in Mexico. It is located in the east of the country in the State of Quintana Roo at the most southern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. The resort is divided into a hotel section along the seaside and Cancún City on the mainland. Sports facilities such as golf courses, tennis courts and abandoned lagoons for scuba-divers as well as a great biodiversity make Cancún a destination popular with tourists. The resort earns 25 percent of Mexico’s tourism revenue.

In terms of tourism, Mexico ranks on number eight of the world’s tourism destinations with 21.4 million tourist arriving in 2006 (WTO, 2006). Mexico is Latin America’s leading destination. Despite its dry and mild weather all over the year, the wonderful beaches and beautiful landscape, Mexico has a big advantage over other destinations: its proximity to the US. Approximately 90 % of the tourists visiting Mexico are from the USA, 4 percent are from Europe, 3 percent are from Canada and 2 percent are from other Latin American countries (Kersten, 1997). In the past couple of years, tourism became Mexico’s second biggest earner, behind manufacturing, outrunning the oil industry. With occupancy rates of 86% tourism industry is booming (Friedland, 1999). According to Clancy Mexico became the country with the highest number of foreign affiliated hotel rooms among the developing nations in 1998 (1998).

Economic Impacts

The most significant positive economic impact in the tourism industry is achieved by direct revenue resulting from traveling activity by tourists. As displayed in figure 1, the International Tourism Receipts of Mexico have been growing steadily until 2004.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1

Included in tourism receipts are taxation revenues. Two categories of taxation can be differentiated. Taxes charged directly to tourists are entry and exit taxes, air passenger duty, bed- night taxes for hotels and accommodation and also VAT charged by restaurants and groceries. The second group is taxation charged to the tourism business such as fuel taxes, duties on the tourist equipment that is imported to the destination as well as property and corporation taxes. An additional important impact which is directly related to the tourism receipts is the contribution to GDP. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (2008) the contribution of Travel & Tourism to Gross Domestic Product is expected to rise from 14% in 2008 to 15.2% by 2018.

Tourism has also a direct impact on the employment in the host country. In 2005, 1.9 million jobs were directly associated with the Mexican tourism industry. As the WTTC found out, the contribution of the Travel & Tourism Economy to employment is expected to rise from 6,633,000 jobs in 2008, which is 14.3% of total employment to 8,100,000 jobs, 15.7% of total employment in 2018. This means that 1 in every 7 jobs will be directly or indirect related to the tourism industry. And since low-paid workers tend to spend all additional income on necessities like food and clothing, this creates a multiplier effect that creates jobs. Further, the industry can help local businesses to generate more revenue. According to a research done by Rebecca Torres in 2003, most of the bigger hotels in Cancún have already had direct contracts with local farmers, fisherman or ranchers as suppliers. However, direct contracts with private suppliers still represent only 6% of total food supply. This has to do with the overall mistrust on both – supply and demand sides as well as cultural differences concerning reliability (Torres, 2003).

For Mexico the access to foreign direct investment has improved a lot since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been approved in 1994. The interest in hosting conventions in Mexico has grown and a lot of foreign investors have been attracted, especially from the United States and Canada (Korn, 1993). Before, in February 1993, a law was passed which deregulates the tourism industry and with it the regulations of rating hotels by SECTUR, Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism, which also has set up the prices until this stage (Korn, 1993).

In order to increase international tourism receipts, according to Ricardo Ampudia, Mexico’s former Director of Tourism, the country needs more entertainment facilities, such as megaresorts, shopping centers and golf courses, emphasizing that casinos would probably attract such venues and make Mexico more competitive to other destinations (Kersten, 1997).

With the opening of Cancún Convention Center in 1995 the resort is now known for its possibility to hold large scale meetings and conventions. A fixed percentage of the profits which are generated go to an organization that offers various programs, such as educational, sports or housing programs for young people with disadvantages (Korn, 1993).

The negative result incorporated with providing a lot of jobs is cheap labor. The operational costs per worker per day are approximately 18 $ per day, whereas the average room price is 125$ per person per day (Friedland, 1999).

After NAFTA, when a lot of foreign industries decided to invest in projects in Mexico, leakage to international corporations can occur, meaning that the revenue that is generated in the host country will be taken out of the country, usually to the country of the investors. Several studies have done research about the leakage rates regarding tourist expenditure. An IFC study found out that for underdeveloped countries the leakage rate is 55%, meaning that only 45% of foreign exchange earnings from tourism remain in the country. Though, according to a research undertaken by the World Bank (2003), in Mexico the leakage rate is less that 15% (World Bank), indicating that 85% stay in the country.

Corruption and well-connected political bonds that influence decisions are still common in Mexico. A significant lack of clear laws made bypassing rules easy in the past. For that reason Playa del Carmen, a once-lonely coastline has turned into the country’s fastest growing resort area (Friedland, 1999). As Roman Rivera Torres, real estate mogul and developer of the resort said, “I’ve never asked for permission”. Here, the community doesn’t profit. New neoliberal economic regulations have inhibited the agrarian sector by eliminating subsidies and restricting credit. A direct connection to the tourism industry can be seen, as inflated land and labor prices driven by tourism have constrained production. The average salary per month in the tourism industry in Cancún is more than twice as high for an unskilled worker than in the agricultural sector. (Torres, 2003) Also the local community does not necessarily benefit from the tourism industry due to “all-inclusive” vacation packages. The aim is to make people stay in the hotel area during the whole vacation period. With the creation of “all-inclusive”, there is no need for tourists to leave the hotel and the result is enclave tourism.

Infrastructural development needed for the tourism industry is another factor that can result in high costs for the government and the local tax payers. These expenditures could cause the regime to cut investments in other areas such as the health and educational sector. For Mexico, this applies with the development of the “super-highway” from Acapulco to Mexico City.

Further, as illustrated in Appendix C, global political issues can have negative effects on tourism demand. The terror attacks of 9/11 in the United States had a significant impact on the tourism industry in Mexico, due to the proximity to the US. As shown in the table in 2001 the growth of the tourism sector declined until 2003, and started to recover again in the following year.

Environmental Impacts

Although Cancún has been developed by the governmental agency FONATUR the National Fund of Tourism Development that has planned the growth of the resort and was implemented to ensure that there won’t be an overdevelopment, significant environmental impacts can be noticed.

Tourism industry cannot survive without environmental planning. Polluted water and destroyed beaches do not attract tourists. Cancún, originally designed for 300,000 people has reached the 500,000 mark in 1999. The lack of proper housing and potable water treatment will bring the city up to the breaking point in the next years (Friedland, 1999).


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