Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mexican Government Closes Tulum Hotels

Profepa, the Mexican equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency, has reportedly closed down five hotels in Tulum, using the military to enforce the closures, forcing tourists to find alternate lodgings by Friday. The agency apparently has taken these actions as a result of the hoteliers not being able to provide proof of environmental impact statements, permissions for land use or payments for the use of federal land. Officials say the hotels have not provided sufficient evidence of titles, are on federally protected land and are too close to the ruins.

The five hotels that have been affected are small, ECO hotels, priding themselves on protecting the environment. Some of them have occupied the land for twenty years and make use of alternate energy sources. The five hotels are the Diamante K, the Mezzanine, El Paraiso Tulum, Cabañas Mayan Grill, and Mar Caribe. I think the biggest of them is 30 rooms.

Local agencies and politicians are divided on the issue, wondering why these hotels were targeted while others on the same protected land have been left alone. Others are upset with the way Profepa has handled the closures, suggesting that the strong arm tactics of bringing armed, uniformed soldiers into the tourist area is doing more harm than good.

When I first started reading about these closures my thought was "GOOD". I firmly believe that the area is overdeveloped and that the destruction of the natural environment is a disaster. On pondering it further, I'm not convinced that Profepa's actions are really for the good of the environment. If they really wanted to protect the environment, why wouldn't they close down or prevent further construction of the massive mega resorts, with their three thousand rooms and energy sucking facilities? Why go after the little guys who are making far less of an impact? Why won't they forbid the construction of a new airport near Tulum that will cause havoc on the local eco-systems?

This will not be the end of this particular issue, Profepa is reportedly investigating twelve other hotels and have them in their sights for closure. I fear that this situation is only going to escalate, there will be further friction between hoteliers, employees and the government, hopefully without violence but this is a hot issue and I would not be surprised if a violent confrontation occurs.

While I am certainly on the side of the environment, I don't believe this is the best way for the agency to go about protecting its resources. It seems to me that there are bigger culprits to pursue than a few small cabañas running on solar power. Please take an opportunity to read the links to the local news, Google Translate is a good tool if your Spanish is a little rusty.

ETA: Follow up story Friday July 11, "Tulum Hotel Closures Cause Controversy"


Anonymous said...

wow. honestly my first thought was for all the employees.... the moms, dads etc supporting their families. all of a sudden they are out of work.

and yes.... why DON'T they go after the 5000 room mega resorts??? why are they picking on the little guys?

trina in idaho

Islagringo said...

This follows closely on the heels of several raids in Tulum to flush out "illegal" workers. The ones with no work permits.

Do we really believe the reasons Profepa are giving for the closures? I sure as hell don't. They want that space for a developer who is going to pay them big bucks for that prime space on the beach. Watch and see if I am right.

Anonymous said...

IslaGringo, that was my thought as well. PRIME realestate owned by small locals is hard to pass up for the Mega resorts that have the money to get the proof of enviromental impact statements

Laura said...

My suspicions are the same as Islagringo & Anon.
It's all about greed.

Anonymous said...

I was going to ask and then what? The resorts sit there empty and rotting- how does that contribute to the enviroment? But alas I'm sure Islagringo is correct, they won't let that land sit there unoccupied. They have something else in mind no doubt.

Anonymous said...

Wayne is absolutely right. Prime property for a mega resort.
KW from Michigan

CancunCanuck said...

Trina- I'm with you. This move is going to effect many different people, from the owners on down to the cleaning staff. I'll be posting again soon with a link to the reactions of the employees, stay tuned.

IslaGringo- Oh heck no I don't believe their reasons! I like you imagine huge mega resorts being built in the not so distant future on the site they are trying to clear out. Crazy.

Anon- Amen. It's about the money. The mega resorts can pay, whether it's legitimate fees and taxes or a little something for the government to look the other way, they can afford to do it and they bring in huge tourist dollars by the bucketful so they seem to be in the clear for now. BUT, there are rumours that Dreams Tulum is in their sights and that they are looking at Cancun next.

Laura- It almost always is about greed, isn't it? I would love to think that they actually care about the environment, I just don't see it though.

Ruth- Yep, a new kind of ruin in Tulum, the ruins of hotels and restaurants left to rot.

KW- I really hope that all our suspicions are way off base, but I've got a huge doubt about the whole darned thing.

My Way said...

I feel sorry for those tourists. Not what they were looking for when they came on vacation. Also, as someone else mentioned, not fair for the empoyees that count on that money either.

Heather said...

Girl you are always up to know in the news and find such great stories!! Kudos chica! Keep it up, i learn every day


CancunCanuck said...

Mexico Way- "Hey, let's go chill in laid back Tulum!" "Ok, umm, didn't see any machine guns in the brochures...". Definitely bad karma.

Heather- I'll stay on it as long as I don't get deported. And I wish I were joking. :)

Anonymous said...

There is greed in Tulum, and there is everything contrary to the precepts of well-being and universal equilibrium. From the ejidatarios, nothing more than greedy, corrupt aberrations, to the government reps (ibidem). Tulum is exceptionally deceiving, and its "owners", local and federal are themselves managing to f---k it up. They have already destroyed Cancun and devastated Playa. Tulum is next. In Mexico, where everything is infinitely purchaseable, and laws are applied only when convenient, just leave it up to them, and there will be nothing left. Pity. Their stupidity is obtuse and lessons learned are quickly ignored.

CancunCanuck said...

Anon- I won't argue with you there, there is definitely greed and corruption in all parts here. Too bad they couldn't have just protected the land in the first place and no one would have to be going through any of this right now.

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