Tens of millions of people vacation in Latin America each year, bringing in $240 billion. Cancun is Mexico’s most financially successful tourist destination. Patricia Espinoza lives in the “other Cancun,” earning $140 a month working as a chambermaid.
Profits in Cancun are slow to trickle down. Alicia Hernandez describes her experiences working as a cook. She resents the amount of money her hotel brings in and how little is invested in the local community; tourism seems to mostly benefit large corporations.
An inclusive business scheme is underway to benefit poor families living near Machu Picchu. Jenna Longoria and Jarod Johnson are part of a group that visits a village located near the attraction. Tourists pay locals $25 a night to stay at their homes; Eleuterio Choque earns a living working as a porter on the Inca Trail.
A five kilometer stretch of beach near Managua, Nicaragua is being developed as part of the resort. American developers are committed to using local labor and products wherever possible. Francisco Fonseca works at a factory that makes the resort’s furniture; fisherman Adan Chinchilla sells his daily catch to the resort.
Credits: Testing Tourism
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This episode of the documentary series The Other America examines the extent to which tourism impacts the lives of the poor. It may look like one long holiday, but the tourism industry also supplies lots of jobs and tax revenue. Business arrangements that are designed to include local communities are increasingly common within the industry. We visit workers in Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru to try to understand the impact of tourism on the poorest citizens living near popular destinations.
Length: 21 minutes
Copyright date: ©2009
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