A few weeks ago, the foray of a Puerto Morelos government committee into the International Tourism Fair FITUR was made known with great fanfare. We know beforehand the importance of introducing Puerto Morelos to the world, but it should be done in the correct manner and place. And above all, it should showcase the true identity of its populace.
At the end of FITUR, contracts with large operators to bring tourists [to Puerto Morelos] were vaunted as successful, but who will be the real beneficiaries of these arrangements?
- Workers who will have to work 10 hours a day with minimum wages and benefits with three month contracts before they receive their B4 [form denoting permanent employee status]
- Workers in similar to the above conditions, but who reside in Cancun and Playa del Carmen
- Large “All-Inclusive” hotel chains that hire the two aforementioned types of workers, who advise their guests not to leave [the premises] to patronize local businesses, and moreover, cart their money off to tax havens
- These same sort of hotels that, in addition, chop down the mangroves during their construction, build in illegal places, and block public access to beaches to the locals
And NOT the restaurant owners, artisans, business people, artists, taxi drivers, fishermen, wait staff, cenote owners or any other type of businesses whose owners live and work in Puerto Morelos.
These types of contracts are invariably not aimed to the direct benefit of the inhabitants of Puerto Morelos (Portomorelenses), which is why we residents, alongside repeat tourists to Puerto Morelos, declare our disagreement with this trip, and with the manner in which our tourist destination is being promoted.
The current administration is setting out to convert Puerto Morelos into a crude copy of existing [touristic] concepts in the area. This is even worse when we have an identity that defines us as a unique and picturesque site in the Riviera Maya. We are in disagreement both with the way that the administration is framing the development of the municipality, as well as the tourist promotion; we do not want to follow in the footsteps of our neighboring municipalities.
As it would appear that the head as well as the members of the administration are not up to speed on what is happening in this community (and how would they be since they don’t live among us), we will inform them of what type of market they should be looking for. And we will emphasize it; because when Municipal President Laura Lynn Fernández Piña was the head of the Secretariat of State Tourism (SEDETUR), she did nothing of import for Puerto Morelos, she even came to omit it from the [official government tourist guide] of Quintana Roo.
For the information of the public servants and tourism committee:
For an entire year, exit surveys of visiting tourists have been taken in order to ascertain the reasons why they choose to visit. A total of 386 surveys were taken between both nationals and foreigners. The responses, in order of most to least important [factors] were the following:
- Picturesque nature of town.
- No noise or clubs.
- No traffic.
The surveyed population was found between the historical center and the Colonia, of them:
- 80% were over the age of 50.
- 8% ranged in age from 40-49.
- 7% ranged in age from 30-39.
- The remainder were 29 years or younger.
This is why our beloved Puerto Morelos is visited by the senior population: they are looking for a place to relax and enjoy tranquility, as opposed to the racket found in Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
The clearest example of what we do not want is [represented by] the opening of the new commercial plaza located in front of the town park, on the corner of Rojo Gómez Avenue. It has nothing in common with the identity that has always characterized us; nevertheless, there it is, sullying the artisans, tourists and locals. There the tourists are continually harrassed while their only desire is walk and enjoy the town. The locals are pushed aside by traffic cones, stands and sales pitches. Unfortunately, since its opening the artisans have been attempted to be displaced from the area.
This administration has only short term plans to fill potholes, yet they completely ignore what the community needs and demands. For them it is more important to have a job in public administration for a relative than to hire trained personnel. It is more important to spend [money] on publicity than to invest in a drainage system. On this point it is necessary to be very clear: citizens have approached the president requesting that she attend to this problem. And her answer has been clear: she has no intention of resolving it during her administration. But she should since she is violating the HEALTH LAW OF QUINTANA ROO that clearly says in CHAPTER VII that every town in the state must have fast-flowing and hygienic drainage systems, in addition that it is prohibited for [sewage] to be dumped into the ocean.
In short, from the heart of the community we have this to say to you, public servants, and read this carefully:
We do not aspire to turn ourselves into an open-air mall of a town, with crooked avenues that do not meet official norms of construction, lacking vegetation in order to offer space for stripped back commercial roadways. In Puerto Morelos we have a very well-defined identity and we demand that it be respected.
Marco Antonio Pérez Flores
Master’s Degree in Science
Spanish-speaking spokesperson of the foreign community of Puerto Morelos