Cozumel in bid to become one of world’s leading eco destinations

With its turquoise waters, dazzling coral reefs, powdery beaches and rich cultural heritage, Cozumel has long been one of the world’s hottest cruise destinations.

But now, the Mexican resort is also taking leaps forward in its quest to become one of the world’s leading sustainable destinations.

Island officials have been mapping out an action plan to protect the resort’s natural resources and cultural heritage.

The popular island attracts 240,000 overnight visitors and 3 million cruise passengers a year, but it is hoped that the new plans will help to balance tourism with conservation.

The plan has been conceived by local government officials, tourism representatives and the private sector, and will address critical issues.

Initiatives include the development of a guide to highlight the island’s natural, historical and cultural assets, establishing a water conservation and re-use program and implementing standards of quality for all in the tourism sector.

Federico Ruiz, Cozumel’s deputy technical secretary for sustainable development, said: “This is the culmination of a 10-month journey that has helped us to highlight risks, identify goals and map out an action agenda for sustainable tourism management at a destination level.

“These are an integral part of our long-term, 20-year sustainable tourism plan, which was recently completed and that we are now working to put into action.”

A recent report revealed that Cozumel has been making progress in several areas, including safety and security of visitors and cultural heritage preservation.

However, it also suggested that work needed to be done to incorporate culture into the tourism product and to tackle energy issues.

Cozumel is one of Mexico’s favourite tourist destinations, famous for its turquoise water, breathtaking beaches, cultural heritage and attractions.

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