Sustainable Excursions in Mexico
Tourism in Quintana Roo generates over 90% of the region’s GDP and supports thousands of jobs and businesses. But for Mayan communities employment opportunities are typically low-skilled and poorly-paid, and require long-distance travel to resorts. Excursions and attractions present alternative livelihoods opportunities for these communities to working in the resorts.
In addition, many excursions are based around the unique ecology of the area – its tropical rainforest, underground aquifers and coral reef. Issues such as deforestation, mangrove destruction, and water contamination have been partly attributed to tourism developments, so there is a need to ensure that excursions protect the natural environment.
Last year we undertook research to understand the size and scope of the excursions market, its operating and regulatory structure and supporting mechanisms, and the broader strategic and governance environment.
This included excursions ‘mapping’ of activities within a day trip from Cancun/Riviera Maya resorts, such as heritage sites (Chichen Itza, Coba, Muyil and Tulum) theme parks, cruises, snorkelling trips, catamaran/speedboat tours, diving, sports fishing, golf courses, 4×4 safaris, cycling tours, bird watching, whaleshark viewing, swimming in cenotes.
Our next steps will be to use this research to assess the greatest impact areas and plan practical ways of supporting more sustainable development and management of tourism excursions.
© Chris Willan