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Tourisms Effects in an Newly Emerging Market

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In the last few years on the southern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, tourism has slowly picked up, though compared to Cancun still very sleepy. The southern tip hosts a1.3 million acre areas known as the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, a United Nations World Heritage site, designated to be protected for its rich biodiversity and unique Mayan cultures which have inhabited the peninsula for centuries. The town I’m focusing on, Majahual, is a small fishing village of about 200 inhabitants that has recently been turned into a cruise ship destination, thus bringing an influx of people to an area that had been previously isolated. Tourism is inevitable for many towns along the coastline that border the Caribbean Sea, and is not always a bad development. In this paper I’m interested in exploring what the challenges are in preserving Majahual’s unique biodiversity and Mayan cultural heritage as increasing tourism changes the landscape of the village; economically, culturally and environmentally. I’m hoping to prove that tourism can be done thoughtfully and responsibly, integrating human activities without compromising Majahual’s natural resources and culture, while simultaneously helping a stagnant economy that has been all but wiped out by Hurricane Dean, without leading to another Cancun.


1. Sustainable Tourism by David Weaver

2. Managing Sustainable Tourism: A Legacy for the Future by David L. Edgell New York: Haworth Press, c2006.

3. Cultural Tourism: The Partnership Between Tourism and Cultural Heritage Management by Bob McKercher, Hilary Du Cros New York; London: Haworth Hospitality Press, c2002.

4. Tourism and the Economy: Understanding the Economics of Tourism

by James Mak Imprint Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, c2004.

5. Emblem and state in the classic Maya Lowlands: an epigraphic approach to territorial organization / Joyce Marcus; with a foreword by Gordon R. Willey by Joyce Marcus. Imprint Washington: Dumbarton Oaks, Trustees for Harvard University, 1976.

6. Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise? by Martha Honey

Washington, D.C.: Island Press, c1999.


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