Footprints, Frontiers, and Empires: Latin American Tourism Development, 1840–1959



This article explores the first era of tourism development in Latin America, focusing on the historical scholarship and methodologies that have best helped us to understand tourisms relationship to the growth and expansion of economic and cultural frontiers that accompanied the evolution of North American empire from the early 1840s until 1959. Recent scholarship makes a strong connection between tourists, economic frontiers, and the establishment of empire in the Caribbean basin and Mexico. This “first frontier” of tourism development coincided with state and private investment, distinguishing it from the later “second frontier” that was noted for technical and financial aid from international aid organizations.