Sunday, June 23, 2024

Cancún at the limit: tourism agency declares no more space for hotels

The National Tourism Promotion Fund (Fonatur) will seek to put an end to the construction of new hotels in Cancún, Quintana Roo, because the Caribbean coast resort city is starting to suffer from a lack of water supply.

“We don’t want to frighten away investment but we don’t agree [with] … overexploitation,” said Fonatur chief Rogelio Jiménez Pons.

According to a report by the newspaper El Financiero, Jiménez will ask the council of Benito Juárez, the municipality where Cancún is located, to stop granting construction permits for new hotels in the city, which the federal government first established as a tourism destination 50 years ago.

If local authorities refuse, Fonatur will cease to provide funding for upkeep of the resort city, one of eight destinations developed and maintained by the federal agency.

A report made public in January said that Fonatur planned to spend just over 1.1 billion pesos (US $50.3 million) this year on maintenance at the eight destinations, and that just under a quarter of that amount would go to the two Quintana Roo destinations – Cancún and Cozumel, a Caribbean island off the coast of Playa del Carmen.

Jiménez said that the resources earmarked for Cancún could go to other Fonatur destinations such as Huatulco, Oaxaca. The Pacific coast resort town does have room for more hotels, he said.

The Fonatur chief also said in February that the Cancún hotel zone doesn’t have the capacity to support new developments.

Jiménez said that Fonatur had offered land in other destinations to developers of two hotels because the Caribbean coast resort city is unable to provide the services that new rooms would require, such as water and drainage.

The two projects the tourism fund is trying to stop are the US $1-billion, 3,000-room Grand Island mega-hotel and the 500-room, US $95-million Riu Riviera Cancún, whose construction was halted in 2016 due to environmental concerns but subsequently got the green light to proceed.

Despite Fonatur’s intention to stop new hotel developments in Mexico’s premier tourist destination, hotel chain CEOs told El Financiero that they had no plans to cancel expansion in Cancún.

“We know that there are challenges, and taking that into account, I reiterate that Hyatt maintains the same expansion plan in the country. … We have projects that we are analyzing in the destination [Cancún],” said Camilo Bolaños, Hyatt’s vice president of development in Latin America.

Cancún currently has just over 37,000 hotel rooms but an additional 6,000 are already in the pipeline for the city’s hotel zone.

If Fonatur is successful in stopping new developments, investors could leave Mexico altogether and pursue projects in other Caribbean destinations such as the Dominican Republic and Aruba.

Source: El Financiero (sp) 

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