Tourist Park Decision At Odds With The Potential New Cruise Port
The President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has announced the agreed plans for a disputed piece of land in Playa del Carmen. A new tourist park and a cruise port as slated to be built on the land.
Although it’s not clear what the format of the development is, the area will be transformed firstly into a natural park for tourism purposes that will be connected to the rest of Quintana Roo by a station on the ongoing Maya Train Project. Details on how the park will look and function are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
In addition to the tourist park, it’s expected that work will begin on a new cruise port for ships to dock for daily excursions. The water surrounding the area is deep enough to support such a project and would add to an already busy market for Quintana Roo’s cruise industry. This decision has been met with disdain by environmental groups and parts of the tourism industry.
Playa del Carmen’s waters are home to important coral reef systems that are under threat around the world and many have doubted how such constriction could take place without damaging the underwater habitat. It is this fact that places the two developments at odds with one another. The eco-park is meant to protect the environment and promote sustainable tourism, while a cruise port may do just the opposite.
Of course, the presence of the Maya Train project is also a controversial topic and also at odds with the eco-park. The development of the massive train line is hitting regular roadblocks in the form of environmental protections after AMLO was accused of allowing the construction to destroy precious habitats, including rainforest, cenotes, and underground caves systems. It appears similar arguments are going to surface when the cruise port constriction will be break ground.
Hoteliers and restaurant owners will not be happy about the development either. Cruise passengers, although offering some business, are an increasingly unattractive market for most businesses. They present single-day arrivals and are often booked into all-inclusive packages making them unlikely to spend much, Their presence also drives away many of the regular tourists who want to avoid the sudden droves of people. On top of this, the more cruises running, the less traditional visitors there could be in the region.
The piece of land in question is currently functioning as a mine operated by Calico and its subsidiary Legacy Vulcan Company. The majority of its mining sends rock to the United States to be used for road construction and other purposes.
AMLO has been in talks with the company for a significant period of time and had already ordered the company to cease mining to protect the environment in the surrounding area and prevent further damage. According to the new statements, the company will be able to function for a further two months, allowing for all mined materials to be shipped to the states. The Mexican military will be moving into the area to determine if any of the materials left can be used in the construction of the Maya Train.
As to an exact timeline for the project, it’s hoped that some parts of the development could be completed by the time the Maya Train is up and running. The train project is slated for the end of 2023 along with the new Tulum Airport. With both functioning, Quintana Roo’s tourist industry is set to make a dramatic transformation and attract a massive spectrum of new visitors.
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