A stern warning has just been issued to the tourism industry by the National Ecology and Climate Change Institute (INECC) that the nation’s foremost tourist destinations are “highly exposed” to global climate variations.
Needless to say, few of the sites mentioned are not paying attention. But INECC is very serious about the warnings as tourism continues to be a growing industry and new resorts are opening up every year.
The hurricane season, that hits the nation with destructive tempests from both the Atlantic and the Pacific, is not a threat taken into account by the INECC. These hurricanes are taken for granted and even if they take Mexicans by surprise year after year with destructive gales, the nation has always recovered from them.
INECC notes that sea levels are rising in two tourist regions, one in the Caribbean and the other in Mexico’s southern Pacific coast. The first includes Cancún, Mayan Riviera, Cozumel and Mahahual while the second includes Acapulco, Huatulco and Puerto Chiapas. Surprisingly, it also includes Ensenada in Baja California, but for drought rather than rising sea levels.
The affected regions are very important for Mexico’s economy, not only through local tourism but also for agriculture. The regions are the points of entry for hurricanes both from the Atlantic and the Pacific, and the water produced by hurricanes doesn’t stay put in one place but moves across the Gulf of Mexico (sometimes with devastation) while the Pacific storms drench central Mexico states, and when strong enough, the water spreads all the way north to the U.S. border states including Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
INECC says that it has a full catalogue of climate change damages to the above-mentioned beach fronts but offers no immediate response as to what to do, mainly because although the changes that are taking place are apparent, it is not clear how to address them while protecting the economies of the tourist hubs.
INECC was founded in 1992, but its teams of specialists only began researching areas affected by climate change in 2012, with the release of many reports on worldwide climate changes.
The tourist industry has been warned, and now, each region will be expected to face its own problems.
But INECC warns that visits to these now traditional festive beaches may start to decline as weather may start varying in unexpected ways. Today, tourism is the third-largest source of dollars for the Mexican economy after exports and remittances from the US.
For now, the INECC offers the report as a very serious warning, not only to industrialists but also for the tourism secretariats in each of the states where the resorts are located, as well as to the National Tourism Secretariat headed by Enrique de la Madrid, who must now take preventive steps to avoid flooding caused by rising sea levels on both sides of the continent.