Volume 43, Number 168,
January-March 2012
Interstate Tourism Development
between Puerto Vallarta and Bahía de Banderas: Mexico
Marco A. Merchand Rojas
INTRODUCTION ( ...continuation )

It is worth citing Jiménez, A., who writes the following:

"A territory forgotten by the industrial complex and agricultural economy has become an entity with invested interests in leisure activities, and the value of climate and scenery. The actors were the following: the State, which has invested a large portion of public money in this re-evaluation, and more recently - with the advent of a liberalization model - capital players, who have appropriated the territory's value with little regard for preserving or improving it. In this context of territorial exploitation and powerful transformation, hotel chains have become an effective player of the game. To summarize the underlying processes at work here, it is clear that territorial zoning has become territorial exploitation ...In the tourism sector, hotels are some of the most territorial participants. Hotel chains are linked by interests and goals nuanced by the peculiar fact that they are anchored, however temporarily, to the land over which they operate. The political power that foreign hotel investors wield is derived from their monetary resources and their relationships both abroad and with politicians in power, with those who have interests, influence and affiliations. In reality, they are two sides of the same coin" (Jiménez, A., 2009: 114).

By representing sun and beach tourism as one of the most important segments of growth with the greatest volume of demand, policies that modified the legal investment framework were implemented, especially for tourist destinations that offer comparative advantages (such as cheap labor and natural resources). Foreign investment was encouraged to foster tourism development, complemented by important public investment in basic infrastructure and access, in addition to an almost unrestricted government commitment to provide support. All of this generated ideal conditions for foreign investment (fdi).5

Under the administration of Carlos Salinas, the constitutional reform of Article 27 was implemented, which liberalized the market to the benefit of the tourism and other (agriculture and industrial) sectors. The modifications to this Article and similar changes to the Agricultural Law granted rights to cooperative landowners (ejidatarios) to transfer or sell their land parcels to Business Associations (Sociedades Mercantiles), to other cooperative landowners or to any other third party. This change has resulted in the sale of large swaths of land, including coastal territory, to personal owners, whose main goal is to turn these places into profitable tourist destinations. In other words, these neoliberal land policies have brought about the gradual elimination (deregulation) of legal and institutional obstacles, facilitating the free flow of production and goods, and lowering labor costs and the cost to extract natural resources, etc.

However, the traditional sun and beach model continues to provide attractive incentives, even though it is considered one of the most damaging models in environmental terms. The expansion of tourism in naturally bio-diverse areas, such as the southern coast of Nayarit, has a serious environmental impact, not only in terms of appearance, but also in social, cultural and economic terms, as well as sustainability. Integrally Planned Centers incentivize resort development, which are representative of conglomerates and large hotel chains looking to diversify their business portfolios, both on a world and local level

5 In the early 1980s, Foreign Direct Investment (fdi) no longer represented a threat to national development. Instead, fdi was considered as a real possibility to spur competition in the international market. Foreign capital flows represented an access route to foreign technology and a way to increase productive investments. Crucial to this framework was the liberalization of the foreign direct investment regimen. As such, the restrictive 1973 Law on Foreign Direct Investment was replaced in 1984 by a much more liberal law, which allowed for majority participation from foreign capital (Merchand, 2002).

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PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 195 October-December 2018 is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
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