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Published On: Mon, Aug 26th, 2019

Valentino Danchev Sees Sustainability as the Future for Mexican Tourism

As tourism in Mexico increases, the focus on the integration of environmental concerns and sustainability is as important as ever. In 2018, 41.4 million international tourists visited Mexico, a 5.5% increase compared to the previous year. Tourists also spent just over $20.3 billion during their travels, a 6% rise from 2017. As the rates of tourism continue to rise, the impact on the environment becomes increasingly detrimental. Uncontrolled tourism poses a serious threat to natural areas around the world. Increased pollution, soil erosion, natural habitat loss, overuse of water, threats to endangered species, land degradation, and loss of biodiversity are just some of the problems that tourism brings to countries. Although tourism has the potential to be beneficial to the environment, many towns experience negative effects due to the overuse of resources.  

photo/ Michelle Maria

As our Earth continues to feel the impact of tourism, people across the world have committed themselves to traveling more sustainably. According to Booking.com’s Sustainable Travel Report (2018), 87% say they want to travel more sustainably and 39% say they already often do. Groups across Mexico strive to act on their environmental responsibility to protect and conserve the environment. Valentino Danchev is the Head of Sales for Vida Vacations, a luxury vacation brand that has committed itself to protecting the environment and operating responsibly. Danchev utilizes tourism as a way to raise awareness of environmental values and ensures that environmental priorities are closely monitored. 

Sustainable tourism in Mexico is rising as more people are becoming conscious of their environmental footprint. In fact, late last year the municipal of Tulum became Mexico’s first sustainable tourism development zone (ZDTS). Under these new provisions, this popular tourist destination will focus on a green economy and implement new sustainable tourism methods. The purpose of this is to protect natural resources and to respect community culture and standards. Valentino Danchev sees this as a way to grow the luxury tourism industry while making a positive impact on the community and the environment. 

Valentino Danchev tourism

Valentino Danchev

The Mesoamerican reef, the world’s second largest reef system, is one ecosystem that has been affected by climate change, pollution, and unsustainable fishing and tourism. Mexico’s National Protected Area Commission (CONANP) partnered with Sustainable Travel International, a non-profit, to transform reef conservation and protect the 900+ marine species that are affected. Together they use monitoring data to reduce contamination, restore ecosystem balance, and remove coral disease. They also encourage tourists to contribute to the preservation of the reef and prioritize education for the young adults who will shape the future of tourism in Mexico. 

The reef is also being protected by the discouragement of non-biodegradable sunscreen. Oxybenzone, one of the many toxic chemicals in sunscreen, has been scientifically linked to the stunting of growth and bleaching in algae. Federal legislation requires the use of biodegradable sunscreen within the national park on the island of Cozumel, Chankanaab, Xcaret, Xel Ha, and Garrafon. 

A small village in Oaxaca, El Almacen, has transformed their town into an ecotourism destination. A group called The Mujeres Milenarias (“Millenial Women”) started an organization to recover eroded soil, prevent future erosion, and save the tradition of pulque making, a drink made from agave sap. By planting agaves in a cultivated formation, the roots of the plants form a net that keeps water and nutrients within the soil. Rutopia, an ecotourism startup, connects tourists with local communities such as the one in El Almacen to teach visitors their sustainable growing methods and to pass on the traditions of pulque. 

Tourism is one of the most effective tools in progressing the advancement of sustainability. Valentino Danchev knows that the time is now for travel companies to begin integrating sustainability into their everyday practices. Danchev states, “The future of traveling in Mexico is green and eco-friendly. Implementing environmentally conscious improvements is key to the long term success of businesses, communities, and of course the planet”. The improvements made through sustainable tourism will increase the longevity of natural resources, improve the living standards of locals, preserve culture, and increase economic prosperity for all.

Author: Kamlesh Kumar                                                                                                        

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