14 de julio de 2020
ÚLTIMAS NOTICIAS:
Hispanic World

Expansion of quay on Mexican island of Cozumel worries environmentalists

By Ricardo Hernandez

By Ricardo Hernandez

Cancun, Mexico, Aug 12 (efe-epa).- One of the world's busiest cruise ship quays, on the Mexican island of Cozumel in the Caribbean, is undergoing expansion work to enable it to handle 50 percent more passengers, and the project will allow it to receive up to 6.5 million visitors per year, a situation that has sparked alarm among environmentalists.

The investment in the construction of cruise ship berths and the enlargement of the quay at the Cozumel International Cruise Ship Terminal presently stands at 56.6 million pesos (about $2.9 million) and is being made by SSA Mexico.

With the modernization of the quay, built in 1974 but which has been modified 12 times over the years, up to three Radiance class cruise ships will be able to dock simultaneously.

"The expansion is necessary, given that the flow of cruise passengers in Cozumel has increased and will continue increasing," the tourism secretary for Quintana Roo state, Marisol Venegas, told EFE.

She said that so far this year, the cruise passenger flow will surely increase for two reasons: first, Cuba is losing almost 600,000 cruise passengers this year due to the sanctions and restrictions newly imposed by the United States on the communist island.

"We're coming in as the first option for those cruise companies that will not be able to serve or enter Cuba," she added.

The second reason is similar, but linked to Puerto Rico, since that island was recently affected by a devastating hurricane and travelers who previously opted to visit it are now selecting Cozumel.

"That means that we'll continue growing," said Venegas.

The challenge right now is to get tourists to spend the night on the island and thus boost hotel occupancy. This year, Cozumel has suffered a drop in hotel occupancy: In July (the high season), occupancy was 68 percent, 11 percent below what it had been in July 2018.

According to figures compiled by the Mexican federal government's Tourism Secretariat, between January and June 2019 the number of cruise passengers visiting Mexico was 4.73 million, 5.7 percent more than in 2018, while they spent $324.1 million, 7.4 percent more than during the same period last year and an average expenditure of $68.40 per day, 1.7 percent more.

Currently, Semarnat, Mexico's Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat, is evaluating the viability of the Cozumel project because it is responsible for safeguarding the environment.

If approved, the island of 478 square kilometers (184 square miles) could receive more than six million cruise passengers per year, or two million more than it currently hosts, and this has caused alarm within the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (Conanp) and among academicians and environmentalists.

According to Brenda Hernandez, the assistant director of Conanp tasked with overseeing the Arrecifes National Park on Cozumel, a protected area adjacent to the cruise ship terminal, the new construction could negatively impact the health of local corals.

The reef barrier there is part of the Mesoamerican Reef System, the world's second most important such system, which is currently suffering from a "rare disease" - known as "white syndrome" - that has wiped out more than 30 percent of the coral there, apparently due to the increase of nutrients in the vicinity with the dumping of wastewater.

In the coming weeks, Conanp will issue a technical opinion on the project.

"We're recommending no construction and no new projects. Why? Because of the presence of white syndrome disease, since it's a stress factor increased by visitors and all that results from that," she told EFE.

With the increase in cruise passengers, she said, the number of visitors to the Arrecifes National Park will also rise, although the park has a maximum capacity of 2,500 visitors per day. With the higher passenger inflow, some 3,500 people will want to visit the park every day.

Histórico de noticias
Mastercard Helps Small Latin American Businesses Leap into E-Commerce

Miami, July 8th (EFE).- Mastercard - the global technology company in the payments industry - announced a new digital platform with local and regional...

At least 7 dead, 40 injured when gasoline truck burns on Colombia highway

Barranquilla, Colombia, Jul 6 (efe-epa).- At least seven people died and 40 were injured on Monday when a tanker truck filled with gasoline flipped over and...

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: July 6

Miami Desk, Jul 6 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

Texas, Florida hospitals on verge of collapse while Trump does nothing

Washington, Jul 6 (efe-epa).- Some hospitals in the states of Texas and Florida are on the verge of having no additional beds for coronavirus - or any other...

Trudeau will not visit Washington to hail USMCA pact with Trump, AMLO

Toronto, Jul 6 (efe-epa).- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not travel to Washington this week to meet with US President Donald Trump and Mexican...

Too-early reopening responsible for Covid-19 spikes in US

Washington, Jul 5 (efe-epa).- Local officials in the US states hardest hit by the renewed Covid-19 spikes - including Florida and Arizona - on Sunday are...

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: July 2

Miami Desk, Jul 2 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

US puts brakes on economic reopening as daily infection tally hits new high

By Jairo Mejia

Plastic curtain allows relatives to hug quarantined elderly in Sao Paulo

By Carla Samon Ros

Three snapshots of Venezuela's ongoing crisis

By Ron Gonzalez

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: July 1

Miami Desk, Jul 1 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

US buys up almost all Remdesivir to treat COVID-19

Washington, Jul 1 (efe-epa).- The United States, the world epicenter for the coronavirus with more than 2.6 million cases and a death toll of 127,000, has...

Weinstein victims to receive $19 mn in settlement

New York, Jul 1 (efe-epa).- Dozens of women who were sexually abused and harassed while they were working for now-convicted US film producer Harvey...

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: June 30

Miami Desk, Jun 30 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

US considering another stimulus package amid huge pandemic challenge

By Alfonso Fernandez

Fauci: US could quickly jump from 40K to 100K daily Covid-19 cases

Washington, Jun 30 (efe-epa).- The top US government epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Tuesday warned that the number of newly detected daily...

Ex-Pemex chief arrested in Spain agrees to be extradited to Mexico

Mexico City, Jun 30 (efe-epa).- Mexican Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero reported Tuesday that the former director of Mexico's state-run oil company...

Black Lives Matter protesters set up camp in New York

By Jorge Fuentelsaz

More than 100 arrested for vandalizing statues amid US protests

Washington, Jun 29 (efe-epa).- More than 100 people have been arrested for vandalizing statues and monuments amid the protests against racism and police...

Supreme Court overturns Louisiana law restricting abortion

Washington, Jun 29 (efe-epa).- The US Supreme Court on Monday overturned a law that would have severely restricted access to abortion in Louisiana, dealing...

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: June 28

Miami Desk, Jun 28 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

LGTB+ groups cancel marches due to pandemic, but not demands for equality

International Desk, Jun 28 (efe-epa). - The coronavirus pandemic forced the worldwide LGTB+ community to cancel in-person marches and Gay Pride parties on...

No new Florida COVID-19 record set, but Miami infections keep rising

Miami, Jun 28 (efe-epa).- After two consecutive days of setting new records for newly detected coronavirus infections, the daily number of cases confirmed...

Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: June 25

Miami Desk, Jun 25 (efe-epa).- Here's a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic: