Future blues of green Cancun

The mass tourism in Cancun has been clearly a grand success by some measures and there has been a clear sense of pride associated with this success. The original goal of revenue generation has been met, moreover the revenue has surpassed the expectation. Ever since its conception, this mass tourism project had less intentions other than that of generating foreign currency based on the mobility of high consumption tourists. The development was intended towards the creation of jobs and increase the income, ultimately improving the life condition of the population. However, the perspective of overall development was at the high cost of natural resources and it clearly brought negative ecological and social consequences. There is rising sense of ambivalence about Cancun, and even about tourism in general, throughout Quintana Roo.

The environmental impacts of the tourism sector are well documented at the national and international level. The current approach of tourism development activities manifests that the improvements towards the environmental aspects are less optimistic. A strict enforcement of environmental regulation for all new tourism developments is must before it gets too late. Planning strategies such as an appropriate building set back from high water marks, the conservation of wetlands and the elimination of structures that disturb coastal water flow must be encouraged. Also, a stringent system of zoning and land use planning has to be enforced, particularly in coastal areas. Changing the emphasis of policies from mass tourism to ecotourism, and from megaprojects to the projects that are oriented towards natural protection and the generation of community benefits has become crucial. However, this shift is becoming even harder as it requires political will, expertise, and a willingness on the part of tourism policymakers to go well outside the range of their traditional concerns. Lack of integrated strategy for management of coastal zone is an additional challenge. The analysis of tourism model of Cancun can greatly help the development of future coastal destinations throughout the world, in harmony with ecosystem.