Title: Spring break's social impacts and residents' attitudes in Cancun, Mexico: a qualitative approach

Authors: J. Carlos Monterrubio; Bharath M. Josiam; A. Pricila Sosa

Addresses: Autonomous University of the State of Mexico, Texcoco, Mexico 56259, Mexico ' University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203, USA ' Universidad del Caribe, Cancún, Quintana Roo 77528, Mexico

Abstract: Social impacts of tourism and local attitudes have been primarily explored through quantitative methods and without the intention to test existing theory. Although some studies have adopted qualitative approaches, the potential value of interpretative methods in the analysis of local attitudes still remains largely unknown. This study aims to test the applicability of extant theory (Doxey's model) on the basis of qualitative methods for the study of tourism impacts and local attitudes. It adopts a qualitative perspective and analyses the perceived social effects and local residents' attitudes of Spring Break in Cancun, Mexico. In addition, it adopts Doxey's index for tourist irritation as a theoretical framework. It was found that spring break's economic benefits only accrue to very specific organisations; that there is a local feeling of discrimination due to differentiated treatment of spring breakers and locals; and that levels of alcohol consumption among locals increase during the spring break season. Methodologically speaking, the main contribution of this study lies in the way in which qualitative methods combine with theoretical models on tourism social impacts to uncover the cognitive, affective and conative components of residents' attitudes, something that would have been difficult to capture using quantitative methods.

Keywords: qualitative approach; spring break; tourism impacts; local attitudes; Cancun; Doxey; index for tourist irritation; resident attitudes; Mexico; social impact; economic benefits; discrimination; differentiated treatment; alcohol consumption; tourists; cognitive components; affective components; conative components.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2015.070069

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2015 Vol.4 No.2, pp.145 - 161

Received: 03 Feb 2014
Accepted: 21 Jul 2014

Published online: 26 Jun 2015 *

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