Tourism activities and their effects on the environment ought to get greater attention in Akumal and Tulum now that the environmental agency Profepa has opened an office in the Quintana Roo coastal communities.
One of its primary tasks will be protecting Akumal Bay and regulating one of the zone’s major attractions: swimming with the several turtle species whose habitat is the Quintana Roo coast.
Today, more than 400 people and businesses offer the service to tourists, but Profepa has determined that the optimal number should fall between 230 and 250.
The office began inspecting those businesses this week and will reach a decision by May 15, said Profepa chief Guillermo Haro Bélchez.
The backlog of 121 cases includes illegal settlements such as commercial operations and homes in the maritime-terrestrial federal zone. Last week, Profepa shut down three such settlements.
Haro pledged that the new office will carry out inspections on a permanent basis, and explained that it has been staffed with “elite Profepa officials” and an experienced manager, Rodolfo Patricio Vilchis, who heads a staff of six inspectors. All developments in the area will be inspected and reviewed, Haro said.
Akumal has seen a sharp increase in the number of visitors: in 2008 the beach resort situated between Playa del Carmen and Tulum welcomed 30,000 tourists. By 2014 that number had increased five-fold to 150,000 visitors.
The new office will also be tasked with monitoring the Akumal-Tulum corridor, undertaking environmental impact assessments in mangrove forests and the maritime-terrestrial federal zone, as well as containing urban growth and stabilizing its environmental impact.
Aside from Akumal Bay, over the next three months alone the new office will oversee about a dozen concessions in Zofemat (Federal Maritime Zone), a wildlife refuge area and several construction projects.
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