Locals Displaced By Tourism In Mayan Riviera

<p>The tourism industry is booming along the Mayan Riviera on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. Many are worried that the ever-increasing supply of hotels and the flood of tourists will displace most of the area's local residents and hurt the environment.</p>
October 11, 2007, 8am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Once a swath of small fishing communities made up of simple, palm-covered homes, this coastline has become the trendy new vacation spot as Cancún has morphed into a concrete jungle of high-rise hotels. Now the number of hotel rooms along this strip on the Yucatán Peninsula's eastern coast has surpassed that of Cancún."

"Critics say the transformation is threatening fragile ecosystems (such as the region's mangrove forests), exceeding the capacity of the current infrastructure, and forever changing the area's tranquil way of life. Tourism and local officials say they are planning responsibly and providing an alternative to Mexicans who might otherwise head to the US in search of employment."

"In 2004, the Mayan Riviera, a roughly 60-mile stretch, counted 23,502 hotels, according to the Riviera Maya Tourism Promotion Trust. Last year that number increased to 30,705, and officials say they expect to add some 3,500 rooms by year's end."

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Published on Wednesday, October 10, 2007 in The Christian Science Monitor
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