I've been reading various message forums for years. There is one forum that I've only been reading for a few months, and the people posting questions on that forum tend to be those who have never been to Isla before.
With the opening of a large resort in the heart of Centro, many of the questions have been focused on the resort itself - what amenities it offers, the food, the alcohol, the service, the rooms, etc.
Sensing that the type of tourist attracted to Isla is under-going significant change, I've been wondering what effect this resort and its 60 guest rooms might have on the occupancy rates of the small hotel/apartment/rental home business. There can't be that many visitors to Isla to keep all these places in business, can there?
But something I read today made me realize that maybe there's nothing to worry about. The poster wrote that they were off to "The Resort". For this tourist, the attraction is more about the resort than the island. This is not the type of tourist who would have come to Isla for the first time and stayed in a $35 apartment in a colonia anyway. Where they would be on their own to find food and other services, often dealing with locals who don't speak English.
The resort type of tourist might be looking for something predictable, a place where they feel secure and protected, where they don't have to try to communicate with non-English-speaking staff. Or a place where they can just eat and drink and relax and not worry about anything outside the resort.
Perhaps once they come and learn more about the island, they will become the type of tourist who will rent the $35/day apartment. Or maybe not, maybe they will always be the resort type.
I guess my conclusion is that the resorts are attracting a different type of tourist, tourists that would not normally have come to Isla were it not for the resort. So maybe they will love the resort and simply keep coming back there, or maybe they will discover Isla and branch out into other wonderful rental properties. Or maybe they won't like any of it and they will never come back. In any of these scenarios, the resort has not taken business away from the other types of rental properties - in fact, in the long run it may lead to more business for all who offer accommodation and services to tourists, because if the resort tourist ventures outside the resort and is charmed by Isla, they will likely come back and maybe even rent one of those other properties that offer a bit more adventure and local experience.
And then they will be like those posting on the familiar message forum - instead of "I'm off to the resort", they'll be posting "I'm off to Isla"!
A subtle difference maybe, but to those small establishments hoping to serve tourists, I think it's a huge difference.