Thirty years ago villages and towns in Mexico, particularly those on the coast such as Cancun, Cozumel and Puerto Villarta became tourist destinations. Following in the footsteps of Acapulco, multinational hotel chains came in from all over the world and the natural landscape was changed forever.
The Caribbean Islands have travelled the same route and have experienced the same kind of growth. Overdevelopment is a term that has often been applied to this rapid growth; however, the countries that have taken this route always justify their decisions.
However, we know for a fact that a country like Mexico has more poor people than it did when the tourist boom started, and since they joined NAFTA with the United States and Canada in 1989, the gap between the rich and the poor is larger than ever, and the tourist industry continues to grow, unabated.
The reasons that a country gives to open its doors to the multinational tourist giants, such as: the Four Seasons, Melia, Holiday Inn, Occidental, Hilton, Radisson and others is that they bring wealth and economic growth to the country. It is true that many jobs are open to the local people in the construction phases, and in the hospitality and service industries that follow.
However, the question is whether the foothold that the tourist giants acquire and the huge profits that that make, is balanced by fair compensation to the countries and the local people. This is not a new question and has been asked many times in the past. However, the result is usually the same: the local people are taken advantage at every turn and are becoming poorer even though they see all the wealth around them.