Tourism developers suggest developing a three-mile-long hotel zone along Yucatán’s coast.
Backers say that if successful, this new project would create thousands of much-needed jobs for the state.
“Yucatán has over 300 kilometers of coastline suitable for development. The idea would be for the state and federal government to allocate at least five for this project,” said Juan José Martín Pachecho, President of Yucatán’s chapter of Mexico’s hotel association.
Martín Pachecho also mentioned that the project would ideally be located close to Mérida to make it more attractive to investors.
But given how much construction already exists along Yucatán’s coastline, particularly in communities within an hour or so of Mérida, it is hard to imagine where exactly this hotel zone would be located.
The project is reminiscent of efforts carried out by the federal government in the 1970s to create the then-brand-new resort city of Cancún.
There are of course many differences between the northern coast of Quintana Roo in the 1970s and Yucatán’s current-day beaches. For instance, back in the 1970s the area which is now Cancún was inhabited by only an extremely small number of people and the land which became the hotel zone was extremely inexpensive and uncontested — something which can not be said for Yucatán’s coastline in 2021.
Despite vague reassurances that such a project would not harm the environment, Yucatán is already struggling with the loss of coastal ecosystems such as mangroves and wetlands — to say nothing of coastal erosion.
A similar project was attempted early this century along Campeche’s Costa Esmeralda which came to a screeching halt during the 2007 financial crisis.
This failed project left the coastline littered with unfinished hotels, roads to nowhere, and dozens of luxury homes that sit unoccupied and are now used mainly as drug dens.