Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sustainable Tourism - Xelha Park Riviera Maya Receives EarthCheck Gold Certification


"Sustainable tourism -Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities"  (via UNWTO)

Anyone who has visited Cancun or the Riviera Maya on more than one occasion has certainly noted the massive growth of the region and the rapid development of new hotels, condos, entertainment parks and housing. In my ten plus years of living here, I've witnessed huge changes in my little piece of paradise. Each time I see a new building going up, it makes me a little sad to wonder what effect it will have on the future of the Mexican Caribbean's environment and communities. Many companies like to throw around the terms "eco-friendly" or "sustainable" in their marketing, so it is always a pleasure to witness real dedication to these important matters and not just the use of the words for publicity.

Press conference Xelha Park

In my work in social media in Cancun, I have had the good fortune to collaborate frequently with Xperiencias Xcaret in all of their attractions (Xcaret Park, XelHa Park, Xplor, Xoximilco). Spending time at each of them and meeting their teams of environmentalists and community outreach specialists, I can say without hesitation that this is a company that is walking the walk of sustainability and responsible tourism. My opinion is one thing of course, but what sets the organization apart is the world-wide recognition it is receiving for its dedication to sustainability.

EarthCheck Gold Award

This past weekend, I was invited to XelHa on World Water Day to celebrate the park's latest award, the EarthCheck Gold certification. XelHa is the first theme park in the world to receive this distinction, a great honour and highly deserved. What is EarthCheck you say? 

From the Xelha blog

"For starters, EarthCheck is a international certification program for tourism businesses to promote best environmental and social practices that specifically evaluates ten lines of action: 

-greenhouse gas emissions 
-energy efficiency 
-drinking water 
-ecosystem conservation 
-social and cultural issues 
-administrative land use planning 
-protection of air quality and noise control 
-wastewater management 
-solid waste management 
-storage of substances harmful to the environment"

Xelha Park meets and exceeds the standards of EarthCheck in each of these categories, going above and beyond to ensure the future of the ecosystems and the community. For the "eco-conscious" traveler, this means you can rest assured that a visit to Xelha will not only provide you with a fabulous encounter in paradise, but that you are supporting an organization that truly cares about being responsible to the planet. Muchas felicidades, big congratulations to the team at Xelha!

Please take a moment for a virtual trip to paradise by watching this video, it's magnificent! For more photos of my day at Xelha (of course I enjoyed the park after the press conference!), please see the Xelha Flickr set.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Riviera Maya Film Festival 2014




"El Cine Nos Une"..."Film Unites Us", the theme of the 2014 edition of the Riviera Maya Film Festival is all about bringing people together to share in the art of cinema. For years people have complained about a lack of culture in Cancun, but that is rapidly changing as projects like the RMFF continue to grow and experience success. This is the third year for the festival and it just keeps getting better and better, providing a world-class cinematic experience for the residents and visitors of Cancun and the Riviera Maya.



The 2014 festival kicks off on March 9 and runs until March 15 in Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The films will be screened on the beach, in public parks, in cinemas and at their own drive-in. What? That's right, dig your toes in the sand while you enjoy the Latin American premiere of Lars Von Trier's "Nymphomaniac", the long-awaited film "Hard to be a God" from the late Russian director Aleksei German, "Why Don't You Play in Hell?" from Japanese director Sion Sono or "Oldboy" the Spike Lee remake of a South Korean cult film. 



The Riviera Maya Film Festival is not only bringing international films to the region, but is celebrating Mexican film makers and new artists. They support new talent in the "RivieraLab" program, showcasing up and comers and assisting them in getting their projects made and seen. Past participants of the program have gone on to find success in other arenas and it is a real pleasure to see a local festival encouraging and assisting new talent.

I am eager to get out and enjoy a cinematic experience, I invite all local residents and people visiting during this time to come out and do the same. The events are FREE (yes, free!), please check out the RMFF 2014 Facebook page or website for details of screening times and locations. See you at the movies (I'll bring popcorn).








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