As part of efforts to stimulate the economy in Mexico’s south and southeast an airport will be built in Tulum, Quintana Roo, President López Obrador said Thursday.
“A new airport will be built in Tulum, it will help [the economy] a lot,” he told reporters at his regular news conference.
López Obrador didn’t provide any details about when the project might start or where in Tulum it would be located.
His announcement comes 10 years after former president Felipe Calderón announced that a 3.2-billion-peso airport would be built in the popular beach destination.
But the project never got off the ground and as a result most people travel to Tulum from Cancún, located about 130 kilometers north.
Before López Obrador’s announcement, the Quintana Roo representative of Fonatur, the National Tourism Promotion Fund, said that federal authorities were considering the construction of two new international airports to complement the Maya Train project, which is expected to be completed in 2022.
Raúl Bermúdez said that one of the facilities would be located in Tulum and the other in Mérida, Yucatán.
However, López Obrador’s announcement this morning may have caught authorities in Quintana Roo by surprise: Tourism Minister Marisol Vanegas said Wednesday that she had no knowledge of an airport in Tulum.
In addition to having an air link, Tulum will be connected to the Gulf of Mexico coast via Palenque, Chiapas, the president said, explaining that the Maya Train will run between those two cities and then on to Escárcega, Campeche, from the latter.
López Obrador, who says the Maya Train will spur economic and social development in Mexico’s long-neglected southeast, predicted that Quintana Roo will be one of the first states to recover from the coronavirus-induced economic downturn.
“Its tourism activity is a creator and distributor of wealth,” he said.
“A lot of tourists arrive and there is economic growth. [Tourism] provides a lot of work for transportation, hotel and restaurant workers. [Quintana Roo] is very prosperous … in normal circumstances.”
If the Tulum airport is built, it will be the Caribbean coast state’s fourth airport. The commercial airports currently operating in Quintana Roo are located in Cancún, Chetumal and Cozumel, an island off the coast of Playa del Carmen.