>> Monday, March 30, 2009
From an article by Verónica Díaz Favela on Interpress Service News:
CANCÚN, Mexico, Mar 30 (IPS/IFEJ) - Antonio Moreno is the banquet manager of a four star hotel in the south-eastern Mexican resort city of Cancún, but for more than a year his duties have included digging through the trash.
Why? To ensure that the waste has been properly separated out for recycling, he explains. The containers are "blue for plastics, yellow for cardboard, grey for metals and green for organic waste."
With 213 rooms, Le Méridien Resort & Spa, where Moreno works, is one of the more than 60 hotels in Cancún and the latest to receive sustainable tourism certification. The seal is granted by the Australia-based Green Globe, says Alma Quiñones, head of human resources.
Three other hotels in the area are ready to begin the process to earn certification, and nine already have it, according to Green Globe's representative in Mexico, Gustavo Ramos.
All are located on a 130-kilometre stretch of coastline in Quintana Roo state, which includes Cancún, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Tulum - together known as the Mayan Riviera. Renowned for its turquoise waters and white beaches and coral reefs, the strip has more than 70,000 hotel rooms and receives three million tourists each year.
For the past three decades, this part of Mexico, home to the Maya culture and important archaeological sites, including the monumental pyramids of Chichén Itzá and Tulum, has been a magnet for visitors from the United States, Canada and Europe. Here they find sun, beaches and culture. In return, they bring in revenues totalling five billion dollars annually.
However, the lack of environmentally sustainable practices has led some of those tourists to turn their backs on Cancún.