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Mexican Environment Sacrificed To Tourism Essay

1781 words - 7 pages

Is generating more tourist income more important than preserving the environment? According to the Mexican governments policies the answer is "YES." American tourists love to vacation in Mexico and Mexicans like receiving the influx of American dollars brought by visitors. Tourism is the third largest industry in Mexico and developers are wasting no time trying to expand the market. In an attempt to draw more and more American and European tourist dollars, the Mexican government may be slitting its own throat. The Mexican government's department of tourism, FONATUR, has big plans for developments throughout Mexico. If the developments are successful it could mean big money for the Mexican government. Nevertheless, in the long run, the costs might be too high. These developments could be destroying the very thing that draws tourists to Mexico. The developments have the potential to destroy the natural beauty of Mexico. Tourist resort developments are not worth the cost because of the environmental destruction they cause for questionable returns.FONATUR (National Fund to Promote Tourism) is the government agency responsible for much of the tourism related development in Mexico. FONATUR was founded in 1974 to develop resort communities and to avoid problems. Mexico wanted to avoid what happened in Acapulco. Uncontrolled and unplanned construction caused the city to be disorganized and ugly. The streets were dirty and the beaches polluted. This all caused tourists to go to other vacation spots (Call).The biggest development in Mexico is a plan to build marinas all along the coast of the Baja Peninsula. The marina project, called Escalera Nautica or Nautical ladder, is being developed to attract American boating tourists. The $1.9 billion plan calls for more than 2 dozen marinas to be built, each no more than 120 miles away from another. A highway across the peninsula is also part of the project. The road is envisioned to allow tourists the haul their yachts across the peninsula into the Gulf of California, also know as the Sea of Cortex. The road would cut down on the distance boaters would have to travel to enjoy the waters that Jacques Cousteau called "the world's aquarium" (Ferriss). FONATUR predicts the nautical ladder will bring an influx of 860,000 tourists a year, directly generating 50,000 jobs and indirectly generating 200,000 jobs (Weiss). On the surface the plan looks great. If FONATUR's figures are accepted the marina project will generate millions of dollars for local and federal government. Alas, the environmental impact of the project is staggering while the actual economic value is questionable.Many of the proposed marina sites are on locations that are important habitats for endangered animals and nature preserves. Bahia de los Angeles is a habitat of sea turtles and whale sharks. (Ferriss) Ports planned for Loreto, San Felipe, Puerto Penasco and Puerto San Carlos are within or adjacent to protected wildlife areas (Aridjis). The road...

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