Tourism Vs. Reality Essay

1452 words - 6 pages

The word “travel” invokes images of exotic cultures and foreign destinations. The allure of travel comes from encountering the unknown and experiencing something completely new, be it new cultures or activities. Travel helps us temporarily live in a new “reality” that is different than our own. During the last fifty years, the demand for first world commodities in third world locations increased, the industry transitioned from being about culture shock to more about being pampered abroad. What used to be exploratory tourism is now recreational tourism. Tourist destinations in third world countries offer five-star resorts and spas on pristine white-sand beaches rather than focus on cultural ...view middle of the document...

Looking at this topic will also provide information about real life in these tourist areas, as well as explain the long term effects of tourism.
Mexican beach resorts in Cozumel and Cancun draw thousands of tourists a year. The warm, white beaches, bottomless bottles of tequila and the luxuries afforded to tourists make foreigners flock en masse. Tourists that travel to Mexico with travel packages already know what to expect, so tourism agencies and hotels do their best to meet the expectations of tourists while hiding anything that may be an imperfection. They create touristic areas that are much better maintained than the areas that locals live in and they exclude most of the local population from entering. The “Authentic” Mexican experience offered by these places may not be as real as tourists would like to think. Everything is adapted to be as appealing as possible. This Mexican beach-based tourism detracts visitors from the uniquely Mexican experiences found in small towns and cultural hearths and draws them to beach parties and large dinners with traditional performers.
Tourists want to experience a culture while at the same time not having to lift a finger, or getting slightly inconvenienced. Wilson argues that although tourism helps bolster a country’s economy it may actually have adverse effects on everyday life. In its push to sponsor growth and development in the sector, the state (Mexico) looks to local and foreign investors for the capital to do so. This start-up money comes from international companies or wealthy investors that will provide funding in exchange for returns on investments and a portion of the profits. Wilson makes the point that this exchange creates a dependency on foreign powers. Foreign companies and multi-nationals will have more control over the running operations of these tourist areas than will local business owners or local authorities. It is true that these tourist sectors also provide employment for locals, but in reality, the jobs given are menial, low-paying, no-benefit jobs that only serve to further exploit the local population. Wilson also points out that there is still a large economic gap between the elites that are involved in the business and the local laborers and service staff of these resorts. As the state embraces tourism and development to increase revenue and display their culture, it may be argued that it has the opposite outcome. By reaching out to foreign companies for capital, they are selling away their sovereignty and are allowing foreigners to decide what a Mexican experience is. There are a lot of mechanics involved in the Mexican tourism business and they have adverse effects by misleading tourists about culture and reality. I will further explore Wilson’s writing in order to see the effects that tourism is having on Mexico. It may also give me a clue about what is hiding behind the five-star hotels and provide an insight into the reality of life in Mexico and the areas around...

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