An influx of tourism to the Mexican Caribbean island of Holbox during the Easter holidays has led to blackouts and water shortages.
The Mayor of Holbox, Manuel Escamilla García, outlined the problems facing his community as it deals with the population shock caused by tourism.
According to Mayor Escamilla García, citizens have suffered from power outages, and some parts of the city have had poor water pressure.
In addition, specific industries have been unable to meet the need caused by tourists. Although boat drivers have increased their routes for the holidays, they have still been unable to keep up with demand.
The mayor predicts that the high demand will continue into the week following Easter, when festivities in honor of Saint Pedro Gonzáles Telmo will be held.
As tourist numbers begin to taper off after the Easter holiday, pressure on the infrastructure should lessen, and tourists should expect water and electricity to be mostly uninterrupted during their stays.
He reiterated that this high demand would continue to benefit many industries, including restaurants, hotels, and transportation.
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The water scarcity in Holbox highlights the importance of being water aware while traveling.
Travelers tend to use far more water than locals, making sudden increases in tourism destabilizing on the water supply in some tourist areas.
Choices by tourists, such as reusing bed sheets and bath towels, can make a significant difference in the community in which they are staying.
Why Is Holbox So Popular?
As many beaches throughout the Gulf of Mexico continue to struggle with the onslaught of sargassum, Holbox has remained relatively clean.
Sargassum is a smelly seaweed that floats through the ocean and eventually onto beaches throughout the Caribbean.
Although sargassum is an important part of marine ecosystems, the past decade has seen an unprecedented increase in the size of sargassum patches in the Gulf of Mexico.
Scientists suspect that agricultural waste washed into the ocean from rivers in North America has increased the number of nutrients in the Gulf of Mexico, allowing sargassum to grow out of control.
In recent years, beach authorities have struggled to keep up with the sargassum washing up on their shores.
Nevertheless, the Mexican military and the travel industry in Quintana Roo have launched significant anti-sargassum efforts to increase preventative barrier coverage in recent weeks, bringing hope that the effects of sargassum pollution can be mitigated.
Additionally, President of Benito Juarez Ana Patricia Peralta outlined the local government’s plan to combat the sargassum that does manage to reach the shore. The government is sending hundreds of people, including Peralta herself, to clean up sargassum on the beaches.
According to a recent survey, tourists interested in visiting Cancun are more concerned about sargassum than anything else, including security.
With record levels of sargassum expected to arrive in Cancun this summer, Holbox’s relative isolation from the problem will continue to make it a popular destination.
How To Be A Sustainable Tourist?
One of the reasons for Holbox’s popularity is its natural beauty and pristine marine environment. Nevertheless, tourists can cause damage to the wonderful places they seek to visit if tourism is not practiced responsibly, according to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).
“Negative impacts to a destination include economic leakage, damage to the natural environment, and overcrowding,” they say.
As Holbox suffers from the consequences of exceeding capacity due to high tourism levels, there are several actions travelers can take to make sure the places they love to visit remain what they are.
Avoid Single-Use Plastics
In places where the tourism industry relies on ecological resources, such as the Riviera Maya, it is essential to avoid littering.
Plastic water bottles are among the most common and harmful items littering tourist areas.
According to the United Nations, plastics can take over 1,000 years to degrade. They often get into the ocean, where they can wreak havoc on marine ecosystems.
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