Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Defense Ministry to open 6 hotels in southern Mexico

The Ministry of Defense (Sedena) has widened its functions to incorporate the construction and administration of six hotels near the Maya Train route in the southern states of Campeche, Quintana Roo, Yucatán and Chiapas.

These types of projects wouldn’t be the first ones to be owned by Sedena: the military already owns a hotel next to the Felipe Ángeles airport.

Although Sedena’s original functions were to organize, manage, and prepare the Mexican Army and Air Force to defend Mexico’s integrity and sovereignty, it expanded its functions starting in 2021 when President López Obrador revealed that the government would hand over to Sedena parts of the construction of the Maya Train, Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA), the Tulum airport and the Chetumal airport.

The Holiday Inn hotel owned by Sedena at Felipe Ángeles International Airport.

In October 2022, López Obrador also announced plans for Sedena to operate a state-owned commercial airline.

Now, Sedena will oversee and manage six hotels on properties located at the Edzná and Calakmul archaeological sites in Campeche, which are along sections 1 and 2 of the Maya Train; at the Nuevo Uxmal National Park and at the archaeological site of Chichén Itzá, both in Yucatán along section 3; at the archaeological site of Tulum in Quintana Roo, along sections 5 through 7; and at the ancient city of Palenque in Chiapas, along section 1.

These developments will be part of Grupo Aeroportuario, Ferroviario y de Servicios Auxiliares Olmeca-Maya-México S.A. de C.V. (GOMM) a majority state-owned company administered by Sedena.

“The Maya Train hotels will enrich travel experiences on the train and will offer unique stays in the world due to their proximity to the archaeological sites. In section 2, one of these hotels is planned to be right in the Edzná area,” National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism (Fonatur) Director Javier May said.

May said that all works are being carried out with environmental responsibility, citing Campeche as an example.

“In section 2, reforestation in Campeche will occur with 50 million trees, and important work [will be done] in areas destined for conservation,” he said.

So far, Sedena has only shared updates on construction progress of hotels in Palenque, Chiapas, and Edzná, Campeche.

Starting with Edzná, the hotel will be one kilometer from the archaeological site bearing the same name. According to Sedena, an estimated investment of 1.04 billion pesos (US $55.2 million) will be required to build the 160-room hotel that will stretch across 12.5 hectares.

The hotel will have two towers, Sedena said. “Tower 1” will have three levels with 64 master rooms, a gym, a bar, administrative offices and a restaurant. “Tower 2” will include two buildings of three stories each. It will have 96 master rooms as well as a drop off area, swimming pools, a snack area, restrooms and service areas including an infirmary and a laundry room. Its parking lot will have the capacity for 424 vehicles.

The military authorities estimate the hotel will be finished by Nov. 30, a few days before the Maya Train begins operations.

For the Palenque hotel, Sedena estimates an investment of 960 million pesos (US $50.9 million) to build a hotel that will occupy 6.5 hectares of land. It would be located 1.6 kilometers from Palenque, the most important archaeological site in southern Mexico according to Forbes.

Edzna archaeological site, Mexico
The hotels will be located within a kilometer from each archaeological site, including the ancient Maya city of Edzná in Campeche. (Photo: soft_light/Shutterstock)

This hotel will have two towers of three stories each with 160 master bedroom-style rooms and a parking lot for 212 vehicles. Its opening date is also scheduled for Nov. 30.

According to documents found in the Sedena emails by the “Guacamaya” hackers (who leaked millions of emails and documents from Mexico’s military in October 2022) the government plans for the creation of a majority state-owned company to assume control of hotels, parks and museum’s projects.

The company would be named Servicios Turísticos Itzamná S.A. de C.V., Forbes reported, and would be a subsidiary of GOMM. Its creation is already underway and will require an investment close to a million pesos (US $53,000).

With reports from Forbes

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