Strengthening Domestic Tourism in Mexico: Challenges and Opportunities
Tourism: the industry without smokestacks. The industry is considered by many people to be a virtually costless generator of employment and well-being that offers seemingly limitless opportunities for ‘real’ economic development for countless communities away from the centres of global industry and financial power. Mexican governments, one after another, have focused almost exclusively on international tourism, assuming it to be a sort of cornucopia, a bottomless well. In this chapter, after we examine the contribution that Mexicans make to their country’s tourist industry, we attempt to identify official policies that might stimulate this domestic tourism. We then focus on the present state of ‘social’ or mass tourism, including some examples of this local activity, and reflect on its potential for stimulating community development. This analysis is a point of departure for making some recommendations that might transform domestic tourism into an effective tool for rural sustainable development in many parts of the country.