Cozumel Reaffirms Commitment to Sustainable Tourism Through New Action Agenda to Address Priority Destination Issues
As part of the Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative’s efforts to promote destination sustainability in the Mexican Caribbean, Sustainable Travel International has been working with the Island of Cozumel’s Grupo Intersectorial, the municipality’s Sustainable Development Department and local leaders to develop an ambitious yet realistic roadmap that will address critical issues for sustainable destination management.
Last week, Seleni Matus, Sustainable Travel International’s Senior Advisor Destination Management presented the results of a Rapid Destination Sustainability Diagnostic carried out in 2012 which indicates that, while Cozumel has made significant progress on key destination management issues, there is considerable work to be done. Seleni also facilitated an action planning workshop in which more than 35 local leaders from government, private sector and civil society prioritized issues identified from the destination sustainability diagnostic and identified 3 quick-win projects to address priorities:
- Establishment of a destination-level quality and sustainability standard for operators in the tourism sector.
- Development of a map guide promoting destination stewardship that will highlight the natural, historic and cultural assets unique to the island.
- Establishment of a destination-level water conservation and reuse program.
Local leaders took the results of the destination sustainability diagnostic as a serious call to action. Working groups were formed to bring the quick-win projects to fruition in order to demonstrate tangible results within the next 12-18 months. “This is the culmination of a 10-month journey that has helped us to highlight risks, identify goals and map out strategies for sustainable tourism management,” said Lic. Federico Ruiz, Cozumel’s Deputy Technical Secretary for Sustainable Development. “We see this initiative as an integral part of our 20-year Sustainable Tourism Plan that was recently completed, and that we are now working to put into action.”