Not even tourism can get San Cristóbal de las Casas out of poverty


Despite the tourism boom, San Cristóbal de las Casas maintains high poverty rates

San Cristóbal de las Casas continues to be one of the poorest municipalities in the state of Chiapas, despite being one of the main ones that contribute economic resources to the state’s coffers due to tourist activity; According to the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL) in its report for the second quarter of 2023, compared to 2022, poverty in San Cristóbal de las Casas had an increase from 1.7 to 3.5 percent in a population of 215 thousand 874 inhabitants.

Likewise, a report from the Federal Government’s Welfare Secretariat reports that 66.1 percent of the population lives in poverty and 25.0 percent in extreme poverty, which is reflected in their communities and even in some settlements in the urban area.

The situation is really worrying, considering that San Cristóbal de las Casas is, along with Palenque, a tourist reference for the entity, in addition to being an important source of resources for the state’s coffers; Poverty in San Cristóbal is truly contradictory because according to the Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR), the 2023 vacation season left an economic benefit to the state, through tourism, of just over 10,649 million pesos, which represented 344 million pesos more than during 2022.

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Tapachula were the three municipalities with the most visits, registering 771 thousand 438, 571 thousand 621 and 460 thousand 728, respectively. In the months analyzed, the entity received four cruises, which involved moving 4,974 excursionists, who spent 602,700 dollars.

According to the report, 82% of tourism corresponded to the population of the interior of the country, particularly from Veracruz, the state and Mexico City, in addition to Jalisco and Puebla. Another 739,561 visitors who accumulated 18% were foreigners; Likewise, the countries that contributed the highest numbers were France, Spain, Italy, the United States and Germany.

Despite these figures, the resources obtained are not reflected in the public infrastructure of San Cristóbal and its communities; In the capital it is enough to visit popular neighborhoods to verify the lack of services, some with deplorable streets and lack of public lighting, others with drainage problems and in general the trend is the lack of drinking water on a recurring basis.

Likewise, the problems are exacerbated in the communities, where in addition to the lack of some public services there is the lack of a decent educational and health infrastructure, as is the case of communities such as: Los Pocitos, Buenavista, Pedernal, Los Llanos, Fray Bartholomew, among others.

Despite this situation, the municipal administration chaired by Mariano Díaz Ochoa does not seem to feel uncomfortable with the fact that there is a municipality rich in tourist attractions but with a vast population living in poverty and lacking the most basic services.

The situation for San Cristóbal de las Casas seems that it will not be better for 2024 since it is an electoral year, so as usually happens, projects such as social works are stopped to make way for the electoral processes, which will be complicated, considering that in addition The municipality has been within the conflict zones for months, which caused the economy of the service sector such as hotels, tourist tours and restaurants to collapse at the end of August due to situations such as road blockades and other events such as the violence that prevails in the Altos Region, which scared away tourism in recent months.

Source: El Heraldo de Chiapas