Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Marine Affairs

First Advisor

Gerald Krausse


This thesis examines local perception of tourism in two towns neighboring Cancun, Mexico. In response to the economic success of Cancun, tourism development in other nearby towns is growing at a rapid pace. In order to mitigate unwanted impacts and guide tourism development in smaller towns, it is necessary to identify residential attitudes toward local tourism as well as the type of tourism displayed in Cancun. The two towns chosen for this study are experiencing different stages of tourism development, and are also differentially located with respect to Cancun. This thesis tests three hypotheses: a) the two towns will demonstrate differences in residential perception of tourism impacts, b) the two towns will exhibit differences in attitudes towards Cancun, c) both towns will encourage local tourism development and growth.

The results of the Chi-Square analysis suggest that there are subtle differences between the towns with regard to some negative tourism impacts, as well as attitudes toward Cancun. It appears that greater exposure to tourism induces greater perception of both positive and negative impacts of tourism. Similarly, residents who live closer to Cancun displayed stronger negative feelings about all aspects of Cancun. Despite the differences, the vast majority of all residents displayed negative feelings toward Cancun and valued the tranquil qualities of their own towns. Also, the majority of all residents were very positive about all aspects of tourism, and welcomed local tourism industry expansion. Therefore, local tourism should continue to grow and develop, but in a manner that is consistent with existing town character and goals.



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