COZUMEL, Q. Roo. — An ecotourist stays on average 12 days in a destination and spends about $140 a day during the stay, compared with a day and $89 for a cruise tourist, said Christopher Gonzalez Baca, director of the National Commission on Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) during the presentation of results of the Sixth Cozumel Bird Festival and the presentation of the agenda of the seventh edition of this event on the Island of the Swallows.
Juan Manuel Gonzalez Castelán, director of tourism in the municipality, stressed that the issue of sea turtle conservation is not the only important environmental issue, and he highlighted the presence of an endemic island bird, the emerald hummingbird.
He announced that in 2013 about 100 people participated in the festival of birds and that by 2014 this number increased to 280 thanks to the joint work between the Cozumel Birding Club, the bird sanctuary and golf course Cozumel Country Club, Friends of Sian Ka’an, Conanp and the Foundation of Parks and Museums of Cozumel (FPMC).
For the 2015 edition, it is expected there will be 350 participants, and for this year the Cozumel Planetarium “Ch’an Ka’an” has been added to the program of activities from 23 to 25 October.
As a barometer of these actions he mentioned the golf course, first in the country to be certified as a bird sanctuary, which reports 150 bird watchers week, not including El Cedral, Punta Sur and San Gervasio.
“This is a tourist product to be spread and sustainably managed,” he said.
Christopher Gonzalez meanwhile announced information extracted from the websites of cruise lines that indicate that a passenger spends a few hours on the island and spends very little.
He puts into perspective an average overnight tourist spent four days and up to $140 per day, which shows that birders leave greater economic benefit.
None of the panelists at the conference mentioned a specific tourism promotion strategy for this niche market that in Spain generates 30 percent of the foreign exchange from tourism.
Festival-goers come from clubs in Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo to engage in bird watching, photography exhibitions, lectures, documentaries, but above all the exchange of information and experiences.
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