Academic journal article Global Journal of Business Research

Usumacinta Canyon State Park: Social Tourism Alternative

Academic journal article Global Journal of Business Research

Usumacinta Canyon State Park: Social Tourism Alternative

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Alternative tourism represents an important source of income in Mexico. There are many potential sites remaining to be developed in the southeast of the country. Included in this group is the state park Cañón del Río Usumacinta, Boca del Cerro. This park is located in the municipality of Tenosique and is surrounded by indigenous populations of the Tzotzil, Chol, Maya and Zoqueg. The objective of this study is to carry out an integral diagnosis of socioeconomic and demographic conditions, and of nature in the region, to identify sites and strategies for tourism development in the area of the Cañón del Usumacinta state park. The study is non experimental as none of the variables described in the project were controlled or modified. Rather the study is trans-sectional as the data were recorded at a single moment in time. The objective is to characterize the phenomenon to provide alternatives or solution proposals (Hernández, Fernández, Baptista, 2006). The paper reports results of 129 interviews carried out with residents of areas adjacent to the Cañón del Usumacinta state park. The paper also identifies the ecotourism potential of the area. The findings of the study constitute a series of marketing ideas, useful in decision making with respect to the tourism development of the region.

JEL: M21, M31

KEY WORDS: Cañón del Usumacinta State Park, alternative tourism, communal host, social marketing.

INTRODUCTION

Mexico occupies an important position with respect to tourism offerings and demand, especially in the sun and beach segment. Alternative segments remain under development. The sun and beach sector has a positive impact in the Mexican economy. However a new focus should lead to planning and sustainable development of activities. Tourism options have become increasingly more diversified. In particular, sustainable tourism has the potential to create permanent and well paying jobs for individuals including the inhabitants of the areas developed for such tourism.

The Cañón del Usumacinta state park is a natural destination that covers approximately 25,000 hectares. It has outstanding scenic and landscape value, and important qualities that emphasize its potential as a natural resource. For this reason it was selected for inclusion in the state system of protected natural areas in June 2005 (Sistema Estatal de Areas Naturales Protegidas). Considering its strategic importance for national development, state authorities have undertaken efforts for the area to be declared a refuge for wild flora and fauna. With this categorization it would be possible to access important sources of world financing that favor conservation and development strategies in protected areas.

The results obtained in this study and in those of other specialists indicate that the Cañón del Usumacinta (Boca del Cerro) state park has potential for ecotourism It has a close relationship with nature protected, areas, and the social impact it has on the vulnerable groups that inhabit the area. The Quebec Declaration emphasizes that tourism is one of the most important sectors in the world economy. Its potential to reduce poverty is recognized, together with its contribution toward environmental protection and threatened ecosystems. Ecotourism is based on the principles of sustainable tourism in economic, social and environmental terms. It is different with respect to its contribution to the conservation of the natural and cultural patrimony, and the inclusion of the local and indigenous communities in its planning, development and operation, that contribute to social well being. It also provides travelers with an interpretation of the natural and cultural patrimony of the tourism destination. It lends special attention to independent travelers, as well as to organized circuits for small groups.

In a global context, cultural diversity is recognized because of the presence of indigenous communities that have preserved their customs and traditional practices. …

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