Yucatan state has become the rising star of Mexican tourism in recent years, with growth nudging 16% in 2017, according to Enrique Monroy Abunader, head of tourism promotion at the Yucatan tourism board.
Located with the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico’s east, the state has a vast wealth of natural, gastronomic, cultural and archaeological offerings. However the key point of difference is sustainability, especially for key source markets in Europe.
“Our tourism development is planned and managed in a way that doesn’t cause impact on our environment, or social-cultural problems,” Abunader told ITB Berlin News.
With sun 300 days per year, the Yucatan tourism board is strongly promoting solar power in the sector, with hotels like the Hyatt and Intercontinental already having “elite certification” for using renewables.
The goal is to also to ensure that coastal infrastructure has minimal environmental impact via the maintenance of mangroves, estuaries and sanctuaries that sustain the region’s famed pink flamingo, for example. Moreover, there is a close dialogue with communities who manage these coastal zones that are also integral to the local Mayan culture.
In this way, a new railway that will begin construction in 2019 will be encouraged to get off the beaten path along the coast and explore untapped nature reserves further inland – though with minimal impact. Chichen Itza, the iconic Mayan city and one of the “new” seven wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the stops along the route.
While Yucatan is already a hit with the business segment, offering Mexico’s highest rated infrastructure for events, conventions and incentive trips, the destination is focusing on key markets that demand sustainability. “We are therefore aiming to be an ecotourism destination as well,” Abunader said of the low impact approach to tourism development. “We know that the European market is looking for this kind of destination that is more related to nature and culture”.
Photo: Enrique Monroy Abunader, Head of tourism promotion, Yucatan Tourism Board