Friday, July 11, 2008

Tulum Hotel Closures Cause Controversy

The closure of several hotels in Tulum literally overnight has caused many to condemn the actions of the Mexican environmental protection agency, Profepa. Five hotels have definitively been served notice that they are closed as of today. Some sources report eight hotels, while others suggest there are up to twelve more in danger of being closed down in the near future. The hotels in question are mostly small, eco-friendly resorts with anywhere from 10 to 30 rooms, many of them using alternate energy sources. There are rumours and speculation that one of the large mega resorts in Tulum is destined for demolition as well, but there is no official confirmation of this report.

Roberto Palazuelos, a popular Mexican soap opera actor and the president of the Tulum Hotel Owners Association (as well as the owner of one of the affected hotels, the Diamante K) has lashed out at the authorities, threatening the functionaries and suggesting that what they have done may be construed as criminal. The employees of the targeted hotels held a protest last night in Tulum, outside the festivities for the launch of a new Tulum TV station, expressing their frustrations and anger at this last minute decision that will leave their families without an income.

The actions of Profepa will have a profound effect on tourism. The image of this quiet little town will be tainted by the vision of armed soldiers evacuating tourists from their small hotels.

Today's newspapers are reporting that this may not be the end of Profepa's actions in Quintana Roo. Reports from several news sources quote the mayor of Cancun as warning hotel owners in Cancun to "
pongan sus barbas a remojar" (literally to put their beards to soak), meaning, "be prepared".

Note: The links in this post are to local newspapers in Spanish, please use an online translator such as Google Translate to get the English versions if you so desire. There is a lot of information (and speculation and rumour) floating around, I have linked to my sources if you have any doubt as to their veracity. The information posted is current as of today's date and time. As we all know, things change quickly and news sources can be less than accurate, but I have done my best to provide information with as much accuracy and as little speculation as possible, noting when what I have shared is rumour and trying to stick to the facts as reported by local news sources.


Anonymous said...

I feel for the employees. Now they have NOTHING.
KW from Michigan

Scott Bulger Photography said...

I hate to say it, but from the north, this looks very politically and monetarily motivated.

Big hotels greasing someones palm to get rid of the little competition. I hope I'm wrong, but that is sure how it looks from up here.

1st Mate said...

So what happens to the hotel buildings now? Are they going to stand empty until they crumble, as so many other abandoned public and private buildings do in Mexico?

Jonna said...

I'm unclear on what they are saying the violations are about. Did they not pay the beach tax? Or the Federal Zone tax? And, what's this environmental report about? I thought I understood it when it was land on the Tulum ruins park but how does Cancun come into this? I'm really confused and a little worried as well. Is the same jefe in charge of the whole state (thus Cancun as well as Tulum) or is it the agency? I know, I should figure this out myself but I read as much as I could and it wasn't talking about why but more about who.

Anonymous said...

When I read news like this is makes me glad that I didn’t pursue buying a home on Isla. If this can happen in Tulum it can happen anywhere MONEY talks.

Islagringo said...

From what I can tell, they plan to demolish those hotels in Tulum. (making room for a giant condo perhaps??) Sounds like they are moving up the entire coast, flexing their muscles wherever they want. Scary to me is that Isla is trying to follow suit. It looks like some gringo property on the south end may be confiscated and taken away for having been sold illegally by a former mayor. The property in question was designated "green space".

CancunCanuck said...

KW- Many people will be affected by this, not only the current employees losing jobs, but even for employees who may suffer from a lack of reservations in the near future as a result of cancellations due to controversy.

Scott- Things seem to be going verrrrry deep on this one. I'm watching closely but being careful what I post. The speculation and rumour is dangerous and right now there is a LOT of it. Check out Por Esto, they have interesting things to say (I have no idea how accurate it is though so am not posting a thing til something real comes to light).

Jonna- It's a whole lot of talking in circles right now, hard to tell what is really going on. I think (speculating!) that someone decided to take action on some verrrry old business, politically speaking this goes back to the 80's. Cancun has allowed some serious environmental violations and it seems they might finally answer some of the complaints that have piled up over the years. It seems that it's more than just Profepa involved as well, CONANP and INAH have been mentioned in some articles.

Jackie- Can't blame you, buying beach land any where near a Federal Zone can be a risky affair.

Gringo- This is a complicated situation no doubt. I know you have far more experience owning land and the titles and the legal jargon (and less than savoury actions) involved. Isla Mujeres sees it's fair share I am sure.

Todd said...

Hey, what ever happened with the hotels?


CancunCanuck said...

Todd- Excellent question. The hotels were allowed to re-open for the high season so who knows what the government actually plans to do. Dreams Tulum is still under order to demolish part of the hotel, they built far more rooms than allowed, but again the government has allowed them to postpone the demo until after high season. I'm very curious to see the outcome of this, but I think we'll have to wait a few months to see if anything else happens. (If I can grab some time, I'll pull some articles and maybe do an update, I'm up to my ears in a whole lot of "stuff" right now so it might not be for a while). Thanks for checking in!

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