Tourism is an ever growing business, and it creates the most beautiful experiences for millions of people every year. And what is more exciting than visiting a foreign country such as Mexico? This said a much-debated topic is whether tourism is good or bad for the host community. There is an increasing and valid concern for the social, cultural and environmental impacts of tourism. SAT Mexico wants to make you aware of the vulnerability of some places and people you might come across when traveling through Mexico. Mexico is still in many aspects, and some areas a lot more than in others, a developing country. Tourism can be a tool of development, but the benefits are in many cases unevenly distributed.

Tourism can generate very positive impacts and can even serve as an instrument in the combat against poverty. Many products offered by us largely depend on the services or participation of local people. This way we are trying to promote that as much money as possible stays in the local area. Besides this, we believe it is essential to inform our clients about responsible tourism behavior. Just by buying local products, instead of imported goods, or by eating in locally-owned restaurants instead of international chains, you can contribute to regional development. Tourism can also contribute to the protection and maintenance of culture, traditions, values, and natural environment of host communities. By buying locally produced crafts, for example, you might contribute to the revival or strengthening of local cultural identity. Tourism often has positive effects on traditional industries by providing an enlarged market for natural products. This can encourage local pride, and it can give a nice extra income from which local people directly benefit. Small amounts can mean a lot more to a vendor than to you.

You can help to respect and care for the natural environment in many ways. Don´t pick wildflowers or plants, dispose of litter responsibly, and stick to set paths to preserve natural habitats and leave animals undisturbed. If your hotel has a policy for reusing sheets or towels, try to support this as much as you can. Remember to turn off lights and electrical equipment in your hotel room if you are not using them.

Of course, we want our clients to enjoy their Mexican holiday as much as possible. Responsible travel doesn't mean that you have to compromise on the enjoyment of your trip or the quality of your accommodation. Just be conscious about your behavior, only like you are expected to do when you are not on holiday. Don´t inadvertently intrude into the privacy of residents and please keep in mind that not every resident appreciates being close-up in your picture without first being asked for permission. In particular when visiting smaller communities, take a flexible, sensitive and tolerant attitude.

To make the benefits of tourism development sustainable, tourists themselves are an essential stakeholder and thus carry responsibility. Tourists must be aware that they, as individuals, can make a difference with their behavior and destination choice. Before traveling to Mexico, we advise clients to read up a bit on local cultures. Keep in mind that lifestyle in your country often sharply contrasts with the local way of life in Mexico. Make sure to know how to behave or dress appropriately. Consider adapting to local cultural practices where/when appropriate. Openness and a willingness to learn about cultural differences can open many doors. Traveling with respect earns you respect and often generates more authentic holiday experiences.