Pyramids by day, martinis by night: The development and promotion of Mexico's tourism industry, 1928-1946
AuthorBerger, Dina Michele
AdvisorBeezley, William H.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation on the development and promotion of Mexico's tourism industry reconstructs the making of what is today that nation's third most profitable industry. Forged by Mexico's government in late 1928 as the cornerstone of state-led modernization programs, tourism became official business by 1929 when government officials, private investors, bankers and transportation companies agreed that it offered their nation an ideal vehicle toward progress once they began to rebuild after a long history of political violence and instability, shaky relations with the United States, economic underdevelopment and social revolution. Tourism suggests another framework for examining culture, politics and economics in Mexico following the revolution and during this period of intense nation building. More than just an economic solution, tourism fit into the state's broader cultural program to both modernize and unite Mexicans after the 1910 revolution. Tourism fostered nationalism and national unity. It encouraged the formation of tourist associations whose members pooled their resources to promote their nation's beauty and to finance infrastructure for the sake of national progress, peace and prosperity. Through tourism, government and private individuals debated and defined mexicanidad, or Mexicanness. In the end, promoters packaged a holiday in Mexico to U.S. tourists as a destination that embodied a harmonious convergence of modernity and antiquity---where one could visit the pyramids by day and drink martinis by night. By analyzing the formation, membership, activities and debates of official and private tourist groups between 1928--1946, this project reveals that to develop tourism the government relied on cooperation and capital from an elaborate network of promoters in Mexico and abroad. Moreover, Mexican financiers almost exclusively funded the construction of tourist infrastructure that visibly transformed Mexico by 1946 from a provincial, undeveloped nation to an urban, modern one. Scholars have examined these transformations as a product of President Miguel Aleman, 1946--52 whose administration was marked by corruption and U.S.-directed development. This research uncovers early origins of Mexican-led progress, and demonstrates how tourist development between 1928--1946 decidedly paved the way for Mexico's economic "miracle," and its era of political and social stability after World War II.
Degree ProgramGraduate College