By: Revista Living Terra
he tourism sector has gained great relevance and economic importance both globally and in Mexico, as it has proven to be a great financial catalyst. Tourism activity impacts deeply on the dynamics of other sectors, such as construction, transport, and telecom, also boosting the rise of various other types of goods and services associated with the demands of visitors and of the tourism industry´s employees. It is not surprising that small communities are transformed into tourist centers, due to the increasing flow of visitors they receive. One clear example of this is Mahahual, a town located in south Quintana Roo, in the area known as Grand Costa Maya, which has in later years shown an increase in infrastructural development, side mainly in the hotel sector. Even if its development has not been as fast as that of the north side of the state, it has continued to show a positive trend due to its natural beauty and resources, constituting itself into a promising destination for visionary investors.
MAHAHUAL ON THE TOURISM RADAR
Until recent years, Mahahual had been a small fishing town of no particular popularity. It was only diving and sport fishing enthusiasts, and the residents of neighboring villages visiting to enjoy its beaches and natural recreational sites, who knew about its existence and found pleasure in its natural wonders. However, little by little its development has unfolded as a tourist center representing an alternative to the bustling urbanism of Cancún and Playa del Carmen, moreover with the increase in the arrival of transatlantic cruises to its port and with the opening of new routes in the international airport of Chetumal, which, incidentally, is undergoing expansion works as a part of the government´s ramping up of the tourism sector. The creation and revaluation of other attractions in this destination has contributed to the increase in the flows of visitors, resulting in the diversification of the market. Today, Mahahual is home to several tourist sites, such as archeological zones only one hour away (Chacchoben), the largest public beaches in the country, and the water and sports activities in Banco Chinchorro. Consequently, the tourism infrastructure has been reinforced so that it can supply the growing demand for services.
Hotel occupation being one of the main indicators of tourist activity, it should be noted that in 2008 the area counted 37 hotels, totaling 246 rooms; almost ten years later, in 2017, the numbers reached 42 and 565, respectivily. This way, there has been an increase of almost 130% in the number of rooms.
As it was to be expected, the dynamism of the tourism sector has impacted the economic growth of the zone, and so, its urban development. Thus, apart from the construction and development of new hotels, more commercial and recreational establishments, bars and restaurants, have emerged, as well as a water park and many services. On the other hand, the port of Mahahual is one of the main access points to this destination and, just as it has been the case with the hospitality industry, has shown an increase in activity. Between January and September 2016, the port received 136 cruises, while during the same period in 2017, the numbers reached 214, which represents an increase of 57%. Even when cruises do not generate a considerable economic spillover outside the port area and have minor impact on the development of the town, they certainly do position Mahahual on the world tourism radar.
Considering all of the above, it can be said that the current expectations for Mahahual incline towards continued economic and demographic growth, moving forwards with firm and steady pace so as not to oversaturate this destination. Evidently, today the bet here is on boosting tourism as a key driver for economic furtherance. A measured increase in the number of visitors can be predicted, then, and this in turn is expected to strengthen the tourism infrastructure, bringing with it interesting investment opportunities for those who can take it easy.