Tourism is an ever growing business and it creates the most wonderful experiences for millions of people every year. And what is more exciting than visiting an exotic country such as Mexico? However, a much debated topic is whether tourism is good or bad for the host community. There is an increasing and valid concern for the social, cultural and environmental impacts of tourism. Mexico Finder wants to make you aware of the vulnerability of some places and people you might come across during your stay in Mexico. Mexico is still in many aspects, and in some places a lot more than in others, a developing country. Tourism can be a tool of development but the benefits are in many cases unevenly distributed.
Many communities/regions are increasingly dependent on tourism, which is certainly also the case in Mexico. In the state of Quintana Roo for example, where Cancun and the Riviera Maya are located, approximately 75% of the gross internal production is now directly dependent on tourism. However, favorable macro-economic figures do not necessarily translate into regional development or improved quality of life for local residents. The tourism wealth is often concentrated. For many people in the region, the socio-economic conditions have not improved significantly. Besides, tourism not seldom damages or even destroys cultural traditions and/or the natural environment.
“ Many communities/regions are increasingly dependent on tourism, which is certainly also the case in Mexico “
Still, in various ways, tourism can generate very positive impacts and can even serve as an instrument in the combat against poverty. Many tours and activities offered on Mexico Finder largely depend on the services or participation of local people. This way we are trying to promote that as much money as possible stays in the local area. Just by buying local products, instead of imported goods, or by eating in locally-owned restaurants instead of international chains, you can contribute to local development. Tourism can also contribute to the protection and maintenance of culture, traditions, values, and natural environment of host communities. By buying locally produced crafts, for example, you might contribute to the revival or strengthening of local cultural identity. Tourism often has positive effects on traditional industries by providing an enlarged market for native products. This can encourage local pride and it can provide a nice extra income from which local people directly benefit. Always try to remember that small amounts can mean a lot more to your vendor than to you. But, even though it sometimes takes a hard heart, we don’t advise to give money to children as it might dissuade their parents from sending them to school.
You can help to respect and care for the natural environment in many ways. Don’t pick wild flowers or plants, dispose of litter responsibly, and stick to set paths in order to preserve natural habitats and leave animals undisturbed. If your hotel has a policy for reusing sheets or towels, try to support this as much as you can. Remember to turn off lights and electrical equipment in your hotel room if you are not using them.
“ Of course Mexico Finder wants you toenjoy your Mexican holiday as much as possible “
Of course Mexico Finder wants you to enjoy your Mexican holiday as much as possible. Responsible travel doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on the enjoyment of your trip or the quality of your accommodation. Just be conscious about your behavior, just like you are expected to do when you are not on holiday. Don’t inadvertently intrude into the privacy of local residents and please keep in mind that not every local resident appreciates being close-up in your picture without first being asked for permission. In particular when visiting smaller communities, take an adaptable, sensitive and tolerant attitude. Don’t forget that you are a guest.
To make the benefits of tourism development sustainable, tourists themselves are an important stakeholder and thus carry responsibility. Tourists must be aware that they, as individuals, can make a difference with their behaviour and destination choice. Before traveling to Mexico, read up a bit on local cultures. It can avoid embarrassment and offence, as well as providing a useful insight. Keep in mind that your lifestyle often sharply contrasts with the local way of life. Make sure you know how to behave or dress appropriately. Consider adopting to local cultural practices where/when appropriate but don’t be patronizing. Openness and a willingness to learn about cultural differences can open many doors. Teach yourself a few words of Spanish. It enables you to get more out of your travels. Travelling with respect earns you respect and often generates more authentic holiday experiences. Thank you very much for your understanding and co-operation.