Coral Reef Valuation and Perceptions of the Tourism Industry in Akumal, Mexico

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Title: Coral Reef Valuation and Perceptions of the Tourism Industry in Akumal, Mexico
Author: Herring, Christina Marie
Advisors: Dr. Gene Brothers, Committee Chair
Dr. Yu-Fai Leung, Committee Member
Dr. Beth Wilson, Committee Member
Abstract: Natural resources are utilized and valued differently by various individuals and groups in coastal destinations. This creates a challenge for tourism planners and natural resource managers. Understanding values and perceptions that surround unique resources in tourism destinations hold answers to implementing effective management techniques. The purpose of this research was to study the values that visitors and local residents have toward the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS) in Akumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico, a coastal community located on the Yucatán peninsula. Data were collected during May 2005 from two distinct groups who utilize the unique coral reef resource for different reasons. The study sample included visitors (n= 98), and local residents (n= 21). Information was obtained from the visitors at three local dive shops. Survey days and times were coordinated with the dive shop managers and a convenient random sample technique was employed. The local residents were chosen randomly at various tourism establishments (e.g.: restaurants, hotels and shops) in the town and they provided responses through individual interviews. The findings hold positive implications for tourism management and future research in this region. This study reveals that visitors are concerned about valuing the reef for conservation but they are not completely satisfied with dive shop programs. By refocusing their efforts, dive shops could enhance their business and aid in the sustainable development of this region which depends upon proper resource management.
Date: 2006-05-08
Degree: MS
Discipline: Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

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