Environmental Impacts of Tourism in Cancun

The natural resource base is the fundamental fabric upon which the tourism industry of Cancun is based. Whether tourism is land-based, or via cruise ships, the tourism industry has highly relied on natural environment as the main attraction to the visitors. The tourism industry has been involved in direct and massive alteration of the coastal environment, especially, on a very narrow strip of the coastal zone running from the barrier reef inland no more than a few hundred meters away from the water. This large-scale growth of coastal tourism and vacation developments is putting increasing pressure on fragile ecosystems (Zarate Lomeli et al., 1999).

The fundamental natural resources of the Cancun are sun, sand, and sea; except for the sun, each of these resources, as well as supporting resources such as coral reefs have been subjected to damage and depletion. The nature of tourism industry in Cancun is significantly complex; being fragmented into several industries, and threats to environmental resources has aroused both within and outside the sector.