April 6, 2024
Today´s Paper

Tulum’s Sargasso Strategy Fails in Tulum: What’s Next?

In recent years, the once-pristine beaches of Tulum have been facing a growing problem – an influx of sargassum seaweed. This invasive plant, which washes up on the shores in massive quantities, is causing serious environmental, economic, and social problems for the region.

One of the main challenges posed by sargassum is its impact on the local ecosystem. As the seaweed decomposes, it releases gases that can deplete the oxygen levels in the water, leading to the death of marine life. The seaweed also blocks sunlight from reaching the sea floor, hindering the growth of plants and coral reefs.

In addition to the environmental damage, sargassum has also had a significant economic impact on Tulum. The seaweed-covered beaches are unattractive to tourists, leading to a decrease in bookings for hotels, restaurants, and other businesses that depend on the tourism industry. The cost of removing the seaweed is also high, putting a strain on the already limited resources of the local government.

Tulum's Sargasso Strategy Fails in Tulum: What's Next?
David Ortiz Mena, President of the Tulum Hotel Association.

To combat this problem, a number of strategies have been implemented in Tulum. One approach is to use the seaweed as a resource, rather than simply disposing of it. Sargassum can be used for a variety of purposes, such as fertilizer, animal feed, and even as a material for construction.

Another strategy is to implement a combination of mechanical and manual removal methods. This involves using machines to remove the seaweed from the beaches and then manually sifting through it to separate any debris or contaminants. The seaweed can then be transported to designated disposal sites.

Overall, the problem of sargassum in Tulum is complex and multifaceted, requiring a comprehensive and coordinated approach from all stakeholders involved. By implementing innovative and sustainable strategies, however, it is possible to mitigate the negative impact of this invasive species and ensure that Tulum’s beaches remain a beautiful and thriving ecosystem for generations to come.

David Ortiz Mena, President of the Tulum Hotel Association gives his opinion on these strategies against sargasso

Tulum's Sargasso Strategy Fails in Tulum: What's Next?
David Ortiz Mena, President of the Tulum Hotel Association

David Ortiz Mena, president of the Tulum Hotel Association, has praised the strategies being implemented to combat the problem of sargassum in the region. He highlighted the importance of utilizing the seaweed as a resource, rather than simply disposing of it, and the need for a coordinated effort from all stakeholders to address the issue. Mena also emphasized the economic impact of sargassum on the tourism industry, and the urgent need for sustainable solutions to ensure the continued success of Tulum’s businesses and natural environment.

In this article we share with you the transcription of their answers to the most important questions regarding the strategy of the new municipal presidency of Tulum against sargassum.

New Municipal Authorities Bring High Hopes for Tulum’s Hotel Association

The expectation we have is of total collaboration in terms of the destination and, of course, of the sector. Indeed, we had some differences with the previous administration, one of them was the lack of transparency regarding the environmental sanitation fee and above all the lack of willingness to create a mechanism to ensure its proper application and transparency.

Tulum's Sargasso Strategy Fails in Tulum: What's Next?

We wanted a trust scheme to manage this resource, and in the previous administration this was a point of disagreement; at that time they created a committee without considering the hotel sector, this is one of the points on which we will seek to advance with this administration, a fiduciary scheme for the administration of the environmental sanitation fee.

Tulum Hotel Association Meets New Mayor for Talk

Tulum's Sargasso Strategy Fails in Tulum: What's Next?

Of course we have had talks, we have already had meetings with him, with hoteliers and the Hotel Association, both in Tulum and Riviera Maya, and that has been one of the points on the agenda. Undoubtedly (the new municipal president) is a much more pragmatic person and more in tune with what a tourist economic sector such as ours may require.

We believe that with the arrival of this administration, the public administration that we had seen in Tulum, which had certain limitations, so to speak, has been broken a little bit.

Tulum Hotel Association’s Take on Sargasso Issue in Near and Mid-Term

Tulum's Sargasso Strategy Fails in Tulum: What's Next?
MEX1116. PLAYA DEL CARMEN (MÉXICO), 02/05/2019.- Vista general este jueves de la llegada del sargazo a playas del caribe mexicano, en el estado de Quintana Roo (México). El sargazo llegará este año al Caribe mexicano en cantidades superiores a las del año pasado, que hasta ahora ostenta el récord de arribo, dijo este jueves a Efe el director técnico de la Red de Monitoreo de Sargazo Cancún, Esteban Amaro. EFE/Alonso Cupul

It seems quite clear to me that the current strategy is not working. Almost 8 years after the first arrivals of sargassum to our coasts, we have made very little progress, the strategy is certainly a shared responsibility, and it seems to me that it has been fully established that we private individuals have done our part; if I am not mistaken, of the sargassum that arrives to the beaches of Quintana Roo, only 10% is collected, and of that 10% according to our data, we private individuals collect close to 92%.

I believe that we have to change the focus, see it more and more as an environmental issue and allocate sufficient resources to it. That is why it is so important for us in Tulum to have an efficient application of the resources that come from the right to environmental sanitation.

Tulum’s Territorial Plan Overturned by Court: What Now?

That land management plan was fought against by the federal authorities since it was proposed in the last administration; if I am not mistaken, it was left without effect; what we should see is to effectively have a plan in force that guarantees the adequate development of Tulum.

Although it is true that the zoning plan in question had some defects, the truth is that today we do not have a development plan that guarantees the adequate growth of Tulum, and this is serious because Tulum has been the consequence of a major growth that we have not been able to make sustainable, so I believe this is an issue to which we must pay the utmost attention.

Rising Insecurity in Quintana Roo: What’s Being Done?

Tulum's Sargasso Strategy Fails in Tulum: What's Next?

I believe that it is not only in Quintana Roo; according to the WTO tourism competitiveness index, among 117 countries, if I am not mistaken, Mexico ranked last in the perception of security. Of course it is a worrying problem, we have to work to improve security and the perception of security. In the specific case of Tulum, the now Mayor Diego Castañón Trejo has already changed the police command, a person coming from the Secretariat of the Navy is now in charge, I believe this is a good measure; we will do everything possible to collaborate with the security institutions, we have to move from protest and confrontation to proposal and collaboration.

It is worth remembering that the Tulum Hotel Association, last June donated enough body-cams so that all Tulum police officers would have this equipment at all times, that equipment for some reason had not been put into use, we will now seek to resume this project and we will seek to collaborate as much as possible so that (the police) have the necessary equipment, But above all in terms of a work program, that is another of the requests we will have to make to the mayor, we want to collaborate as the hotel sector towards the improvement of the security of our municipality and the dignity of our policemen, but to do so, I repeat, in terms of a work program. Let us hope that it is being prepared and that we can collaborate with them in that sense.

Hotel Occupancy Rates and Vacation Season Expectations for the Rest of the Year

Tulum's Sargasso Strategy Fails in Tulum: What's Next?

First, we must remember that Tulum is a destination that presents a very diversified hotel offer, from all-inclusive resorts to boutique hotels in the coastal area. In that sense, occupancy samples are taken separately. We have seen a decrease in both occupancy and rates in the coastal zone of Tulum, which is a cause for concern. And by the way, we have to add to that the problem of sargasso, which is seriously affecting that part of the Tulum hotel industry. Yes, there is a drop, we see that this part of Tulum’s hotel industry is becoming more and more seasonal and is beginning to change the occupancy dynamics of our destination.

Now, speaking of the all-inclusive resort segment, the numbers are in every sense higher than what we presented in 2019, both in occupancy and in rate, and the expectation is to end the month of April with numbers above 86% occupancy in that segment.

The Vital Work of Quintana Roo’s Tourism Promotion Council

Tulum's Sargasso Strategy Fails in Tulum: What's Next?

The Council has a complex situation with respect to the debt that was inherited, in spite of which they are making a remarkable effort to continue promoting our destinations. We have been in the main fairs, so far this year we have been in Fitur, Anato, recently in ITB, and this promotional effort continues. The CPTQ has the purpose of giving greater identity to each one of our destinations and is now in that process, all this under the umbrella of Caribe Mexicano, but highlighting a little more the attributes of each one of the different destinations.

We are in that process, collaborating with the CPTQ and looking for the hotel sector to make a particular campaign for our destination. It is important to remember that we had an increase in the lodging tax, which will take effect as of April; an administration trust will be created to manage the surplus part of this resource and thus have sufficient and above all timely funds for the CPTQ.

Interview by reportur.com


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