Hotel occupancy in Playa del Carmen, down 40%

Sargasso, insecurity, and lack of promotion are reasons given

Cancun, QR. The president of the Business Coordinating Council of the Riviera Maya, Lenin Amaro Betancourt, said that the Sargasso season has affected the hotels in the downtown area, which register 50% occupancy, while the expectation for these summer dates is about 80 percent.

The businessman said that so far it is not perceived that the containment works by the Secretariat of the Navy (Semar) are taking effect, since all the sargassum is piling up, and the cleaning works on land are only allowing to maintain some beaches fairly free of the algae.

“We have mentioned it many times: Sargasso has hit us financially; during Holy Week the occupation plummeted by 50% for downtown hotels. The massive scale of the Sargasso and its decomposition on the beaches is also complicating the summer season, “he said.

Although the general occupation is 80% in the more than 40,000 rooms throughout the Riviera Maya corridor, the central area of ​​Playa del Carmen is significantly affecting the damage not only of sargassum but of the confluence of other factors such as insecurity and the lack of promotion, assured the businessman.

Despite the decline in the occupation, efforts to maintain clean beaches have not stopped; not only through the deployment of cleaning crews, but also the placement of containment barriers parallel to the coast, which are more effective in certain areas than in others, acknowledged the business leader.

The expectation is to keep these jobs throughout the summer season and spread by all possible means that not all the beaches are affected but are very focused points on which the algae is concentrating, “with this we hope to progressively improve the occupation As the high season passes, not only during July and August, but there will be palpable results during the autumn and especially during the winter season, by the time the sargasso overflow has concluded, “he explained.

In January of this year, the Association of Hotels of the Riviera Maya (AHRM) reported that, as a result of insecurity and the impact of sargassum, a total of 431,284 rooms/night ceased to occupy throughout 2018.

According to the agency, between January and December of last year, 13.2 million occupied rooms were counted against the 13.6 million reached in 2017, year in which the accumulated hotel occupancy reached 83 percent.

In addition to the impact on the occupancy indicators, the AHRM reported that during 2018 there was a reduction in the stay of tourists and a fall in hotel rates.

The scheme is not provided for in the environmental regulations in force

They present Mexican biotechnology against seaweed

Cancun, QR. The signature Playa Xhero, specialized in beach recovery, presented a biotechnology-based method capable of eliminating sargassum through a process of degradation with microorganisms.

At a press conference, Joel Escalante Lopez, general director of this company of Mexican origin, said the method took them 10 years of research and so far has been tested at at least 47 points along the coast of Quintana Roo, with results in the recovery of the sand from the beach as the elimination in up to 95% of the accumulated sargassum.

The method consists of the capture of microorganisms from the sea, which are subjected to a process of synergization to strengthen them and return them to the ocean.

“These make them able to degrade the sargassum and generate wildlife and marine flora in a natural way,” said Escalante López.

Microorganisms convert sargassum to fish feed, and a positive effect on coral reefs has been observed.

He assured that it is such an innovative scheme that is not included in any of the current environmental regulations, so they have not processed permits of any kind to apply their formula on several beaches in the northern area of ​​Quintana Roo.

He assured that the advantages are superior to the current methods used, because while a hotel can spend between 600,000 and 1.5 million pesos a month in the harvesting of the sargassum from its beaches, the pouring of the formula of microorganisms that naturally degrades the alga It can mean a cost of 150,000 pesos.

Although the method presented does not have the endorsement of any environmental authority of the federal government, it is supported by the state delegate of Strategic Development Programs of the federal government in Quintana Roo, who assured that it has no economic benefit from the company.

The official assured that, although he already knew the method, he had not publicly endorsed it in order not to undermine the climate of criticism that arose weeks ago when the president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, announced that the problem of sargassum was intended to be used to business with public resources.

He said that his work is only as a link between the company and hotel chains to “show that not everything is clean on the beaches and containment on the high seas,” but there are other methods that can be used to address the emergency that is going through the state .

The councilor of Solidaridad city council, Bárbara Delgado, said that they will review the proposal and, before authorizing its use on the beaches of Solidaridad, they will verify that the formula used is within the current environmental regulations and does not represent any risk to the environment.

Source: el economista

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