Abstract

This paper adopts a political-ecological approach to investigate the problems that recently-industrialized countries confront in the area of managing Protected Areas (PA) characterized by high indices of tourism. In the case of Mexico's "Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve", structured and semi-structured interviews were carried out with visitors, entrepreneurs and key informants from numerous government and non-governmental organizations, in order to identify the interests, strategies and specific actions of a variety of actors involved in PA management and the tourism business. Special emphasis was placed on the spatial level(s) on which their actions take place and conflicts among different stakeholders. The study revealed that the existence of a large number of actors with conflicting interests and opposing strategies was not just an obstacle to a more integrated and participative form of PA management, but also to sustainable regional tourist development. It was further noted that tourism promoting activities launched by numerous government and non-governmental organizations are badly planned and poorly coordinated. Despite large amounts of investment, it has not been possible to develop high-quality, diversified and competitive ecotourism products or to enhance local participation. In order to solve these complex problems, a formalized "Round-Table" with crucial decision-making power should be installed, in which legitimate representatives from all involved and concerned stakeholder groups could express and negotiate their interests. In this way, an ecotourism "master plan" could be worked out jointly and implemented successfully.

Este artículo usa un enfoque político-ecológico para investigar los problemas relacionados con la gestión de Áreas Naturales Protegidas (ANP) frecuentemente visitadas en países emergentes. En base del ejemplo de la Reserva de la Biosfera Mariposa Monarca (México) se realizaron encuestas estructuradas y entrevistas semi-estructurados con turistas, empresarios e informantes claves de diferentes instituciones gubernamentales y no-gubernamentales para identificar los intereses, estrategias y acciones específicas de los actores sociales involucrados en la gestión de ANP y el sector turismo. En este contexto, se puso particular énfasis en los niveles espaciales en donde se llevan a cabo dichas acciones así como en los conflictos entre los diferentes actores.

El estudio concluye que la existencia de un gran número de actores con intereses contrapuestos y estrategias opuestas obstaculiza tanto una gestión más integral y participativa de ANP como un desarrollo regional sustentable en base de turismo. Además, se observó que las iniciativas para fomentar al turismo lanzadas por numerosas organizaciones gubernamentales y no gubernamentales resultaron mal planeadas y apenas coordinadas. Pese al considerable fomento a la actividad turística aún no se ha logrado ni el desarrollo de servicios ecoturísticos competitivos y diversificados ni una amplia participación de la población local. Para resolver estos complejos problemas resulta indispensable establecer una "Mesa Redonda" formal que tenga el poder de tomar decisiones cruciales, en donde participen representantes legítimos de todos los actores involucrados y afectados con el fin de articular y negociar sus intereses.. De esa manera sería posible elaborar conjuntamente un "plan maestro ecoturístico" e implementarlo exitosamente.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-5811
Print ISSN
1545-2476
Pages
pp. 7-27
Launched on MUSE
2006-11-09
Open Access
No
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