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Bacalar residents reject proposal for natural protected area

Bacalar, Q.R. — Hundreds of locals are opposing the creation of a natural protected area for Bacalar saying the area is destined to grow in tourism due to its natural beauty.

Mario Rivero Real said that the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas and the Association Amigos de Sian Kaán hope to curb eco-tourism development in southern Quintana Roo by creating an natural protected area of at least 5,000 hectares of coast and wetlands in Bacalar.

Residents and businesses on the other hand, outright oppose the project, saying that declaring the Bacalar lagoon system as a nature reserve would impede economic and tourism development in that part of the state.

Bacalar mayor, Alexander Zetina Aguiluz, says that the region should be seen as an opportunity to make a “generator of income for the people of Bacalar in particular, and also for all the people of Quintana Roo.”

The mayor said that over the last year, the tourism sector has grown 75 percent and that it’s necessary to add more resources such as hotel growth to meet the needs of visitors.

However, Rivero Leal explained that there is a commitment to the entrepreneurs, ejidatarios and state and municipal environmental authorities to place a special emphasis on looking after this unique region of the state.