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Investigaciones geográficas

versão On-line ISSN 2448-7279versão impressa ISSN 0188-4611


SANCHEZ-CRISPIN, Álvaro; ALVARADO-SIZZO, Ilia  e  PROPIN-FREJOMIL, Enrique. Territorial Structure of Tourism in Santiago, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Invest. Geog [online]. 2018, n.97, 00009. ISSN 2448-7279.

Tourism has become a highly relevant economic activity at a global level; over the past decades, both the number of tourist visits worldwide as well as tourism revenues have risen exponentially. In 2016, Mexico ranked eighth (with 35 million tourists) in the hierarchy published by the World Tourism Organization each year based on the international tourist arrivals to each country (OMT, 2017). That same year, tourism contributed 8.7% to the Gross Domestic Product, a figure greater than the respective global number, which is close to 3.0 %. In this context, this work aims to unveil the territorial structure of tourism in Santiago, Nuevo León, a municipality within the Monterrey Metropolitan Area (ZMM), one of the major urban areas of Mexico, characterized by vigorous industrial and commercial activities. Being located within the influence area of Monterrey city, which receives 2252 126 visitors each year, Santiago is part of the supplementary tourist offer to the local urban and business tourism.

To explore the landscape effects of any economic activity in a given space, the concepts of structure and territorial organization proposed by the Soviet School of Geography and applied to research on the Geography of Tourism facilitate the analysis of the territorial arrangement the tourism economy, both throughout history (territorial organization) and today (territorial structure). Studies on territorial organization identify the physical-geographical foundations and the social structure that support the development of an economic activity, and the historical processes that have delineated it over a specific space. In the case of Santiago, the arrangement and articulation of tourism in the territory is explained from a geographical standpoint, based on the distribution of natural and cultural resources, as well as on infrastructure and services that sustain this economic activity. The geographical origin of visitors arriving in Santiago through the various transportation media is also examined,

The methodology used in this study includes two parts: first, documentary research work to gather geographic and historical information on the study site, from a variety of bibliographical and cartographic sources, both in Mexico City and in Monterrey. Second, field work conducted in the municipality of Santiago between October 2014 and November 2017, with two purposes: on the one hand, conduct an in-situ verification and analysis of the spatial distribution of tourism resources and services and, on the other, investigate the reasons for traveling to and the mobility of tourists visiting Santiago, by administering questionnaires and conducting semi-structured interviews with residents and visitors.

The results indicate that the study area offers a diversity of resources, particularly natural, that support its promotion as a tourist destination. However, the growth of tourism in this locality largely depends on the events in Monterrey, where a significant proportion of Santiago visitors spend the night, and from where tourism to this locality is promoted. The territorial tourism offer of Santiago includes the historical center of the municipal head, as core of the distribution and concentration of tourism and recreation. The geographical origin of visitors is dominated by Mexican tourists, particularly Monterrey residents (60% of total visitors surveyed); foreigners account for just 7%. The transportation media and services linked to the tourism economy, in addition to promoting Santiago as a target tourist destination in the state of Nuevo León, focus on the Monterrey metropolitan area; these resources facilitate a continued flow of visitors, mostly nationals and, in particular, local residents of the state capital. Santiago is home to three of the key sites promoted by the State government to be visited from Monterrey: the Cola de Caballo waterfall, the La Boca dam, and the Santiago historical center. The infrastructure of accommodation and restoration services in the municipality is scarce and unspecialized, a situation that is likely to result from its geographical proximity to Monterrey, a city that concentrates the offer of accommodation and tourism services of different categories. Currently, this circumstance restrains the expansion of Santiago as a tourist destination.

This study illustrates an example of a tourist destination that is subordinated to a large metropolis in terms of accessibility, services and connectivity.

Palavras-chave : tourism territorial structure; cultural tourism; natural resources; Pueblos Mágicos; Monterrey.

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