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Constructing Paradise: The Impacts of Big Tourism in the Mexican Coastal Zone

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Although coastal tourism is often looked to as a way of generating foreign revenue, it can also engender a range of social and environmental impacts. From an historical perspective, this article examines the growth of Cancún in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo since the late 1960s. The article documents a range of socioeconomic and environmental impacts associated with the rise of coastal tourism, and suggests that centralized planning and the provision of physical and financial infrastructure does not prevent those impacts. The principal causes of these impacts are also described, including changes in land-usage, population, tourism markets, foreign market penetration and control, an emphasis on short-term economic gain, weak regulatory enforcement, and an overall lack of integration of coastal zone management.

Keywords: Cancún; Mexico; environmental impacts of tourism; integrated coastal management; social impacts of tourism; tourism life cycle

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute for Coastal Research, Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

Publication date: April 1, 2007

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