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Investigaciones geográficas

On-line version ISSN 2448-7279Print version ISSN 0188-4611


JOUAULT, Samuel  and  GARCIA DE FUENTES, Ana. The Model of Production for Touristic Space in the Hinterland of Cancún and Riviera Maya. Invest. Geog [online]. 2020, n.102, e60003.  Epub Mar 09, 2021. ISSN 2448-7279.

On a global scale, tourist mobilities have increased exponentially since World War II. The Caribbean region is one of the most attractive spaces. The Yucatan Peninsula is a laboratory to study the tourist phenomenon. Whilst for about a decade the tourist phenomenon was previously concentrated on the coast, the inland areas have become touristified, as shown in the case of the Mainland Caribbean and particularly for the Yucatan Peninsula, which is clearly marked by an accelerated tourism. In terms of intensity, tourist activity shows its highest levels long the coast of Quintana Roo, tends to decrease towards the west and south, and registers its lowest values in Campeche, southern Yucatan and southern (inland) Quintana Roo. This regionalization proposal allows us to explain glimpse these differences in greater detail. Thus, the Cancun-Riviera Maya traspaís is a region that reveals a production model showing the differentiated space of the Caribbean coast. Starting from a critical review of the production of space in the Cancun region -the Riviera Maya and its interior hinterland- this article argues for the existence of two opposing models, and reveals specific nuances between them. Cancun and the Riviera Maya, located in the Mexican Caribbean, concentrate the largest tourist region in Latin America, developed over the last fifty years. With Cancun as the “integrally planned” center, the tourism market spreads across the territory giving rise to a new region defined by this activity. This is the case of the hinterland region of Cancun-Riviera Maya, which for the last fifteen years has known a great tourist effervescence; in many Mayan towns in this region, local societies have chosen tourism as a complementary or main economic activity. The territorial structure model in the Mexican Caribbean has the following characteristics: a) occupying a large space, usually in a linear manner, and linked to a real estate business that is developed as the central axis for capital accumulation, that becomes even more important than the tourism; b) the privatization of resources destined for tourism, and specifically, the beaches; and c) a complete functional and social segregation of space. The incorporation of the hinterland, however, modifies the dominant paradigm for the production of touristic spaces in the region: while the coastal model relies on the privatization of spaces that were previously public, in the hinterland, the companies involved in the collective production of tourism transform privately owned spaces into public ones. The rural communities of predominantly Mayan origin in the Cancun-Riviera Maya region, enter into the tourist activity claiming authenticity as an argument for the tourism. In a similar manner, tourism activities coexist alongside the local population, in their everyday and residential spaces. The development of this model across the territory is not linked to real estate and therefore the use of space is precise and opportune. Without denying the existence of nuances between these two antithetical conceptions, the case of the Cancun-Riviera Maya transfer presents the ways in which the indigenous population is inserting itself into tourism, by means of a concept that integrates it into their daily life and activities and that allows for an intercultural coexistence that can be beneficial for both groups of actors.

Keywords : Yucatan peninsula; touristic region; Quintana Roo; functional segregation; production of space.

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