Social media-based analysis of cultural ecosystem services and heritage tourism in a coastal region of Mexico

Andrea Ghermandi, Vera Camacho-Valdez, Hector Trejo-Espinosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding spatial patterns of visitation and benefits accrued to different types of natural and cultural heritage tourists may have important implications for the sustainable management of their destinations. We investigate cultural services accrued to local, domestic and international visitors to the Usumacinta floodplain, a coastal region with one of the highest biological and cultural diversities in Mexico. We combine analysis of social media photographs and high-resolution land cover mapping to identify different cultural services and their association with specific ecosystem and land cover types. Hotspots for international tourists are spatially restricted to well-known and accessible sites. Locals are 2.2–2.5 times more likely than international visitors to be associated with aesthetic appreciation and birdwatching. Locals upload more photographs of coastal lagoons, mangroves, beach and sea. Results are analyzed in light of land cover changes in the region and provide valuable information to decision makers for improved tourism management and conservation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104002
JournalTourism Management
StatePublished - Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Coastal wetland
  • Cultural ecosystem services
  • Geotagged photographs
  • Heritage tourism
  • Land use change
  • Mexico

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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