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In Bacalar, measures to prevent a crisis like in Holbox

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Bacalar is known for the multiple colors of its waters. Photo: Getty

Bacalar, Q. Roo — After what happened at Holbox over the summer, state officials in Bacalar want to learn from mistakes that were made.

Tiny Isla Holbox’s infrastructure failed when it was overwhelmed by thousands of tourists. The situation reached a breaking point when hotel owners went so far as to temporarily block the port from new visitors.

Bacalar, which lies 340 kilometers to the south, “is anchored by the stunningly azure blue Lake Bacalar, has a Yucatán small-village feel and is absent of bus loads of tourists,” according to Wikitravel.

Holbox puddles aren’t necessarily just rainwater. Photo: Random Mexico Musings

In other words, it’s another fragile but alluring tourist destination, not suited to an onslaught of weekenders.

Marisol Vanegas Pérez, head of the Ministry of Tourism of the state, said that the deployment of a strategy has begun between the Ministry of Urban Development, the Water and Sewerage Commission and tourism officials.

The state’s intervention in Holbox will be repeated in Bacalar, and later in Mahahual, Tulum and other destinations in Quintana Roo.

The state’s interest, he added, is to protect basic services in Bacalar, so that drinking water, electricity, food and sanitation are sufficient to serve the local population as well as visitors.

To do this, she stressed the need to create an accurate hotel room census. In Holbox, only half the rooms in operation were officially registered. That could have led officials to underestimate the island’s needs.

That is also why, for months, the Ministry of Tourism started the tourist inventory, as well as initiating training and regulations.

“We will try to emulate the intervention we did in Holbox, particularly to count the data on how many regular rooms there are. These are statistics that we all want to know, it is very necessary,” she explained.

The municipality’s natural resources are indeed precious. Bacalar, which has been declared a Pueblo Magico, includes a lagoon that is the second largest natural body of fresh water in Mexico.

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