The Maya Train would threaten Palenque because of tourist overpopulation

Temple of the Inscriptions, Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico.

By: Andrés Domínguez

“The maximum capacity is 700,000 visitors, but we will adhere to our management program, which has already happened in other areas where the buffer capacity is exceeded and that has put the area at risk” Julio César Romaní Cortés said, National Director in charge of Palenque for the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP, its acronym in Spanish), regarding the 8 million tourists estimated to visit Palenque annually thanks to the Maya Train project.

Romani Cortés, also the director of the Agua Azul Cascades flora y fauna protection area, indicated that a management program already exists, in which are defined what extractive and non extractive activities can be carried out, besides the support capacity that the area to not be affected could have.

Also, the director indicated that as of now they don’t know much about the Maya Train, to the extent that they have not even approached them or delivered studies about the impact that the influx of tourists in the natural protected areas of Palenque and the Agua Azul Cascades could have.

Therefore, he stated that inside the public use areas of Palenque 450,000 people are received annually, with support of up to 700,000. Given that, the Maya Train project, which according to estimates from the National Tourism Fund (Fonatur, its Spanish acronym) would bring more than 8 million visitors, “beyond what can be done,” he added.

The director of one of the zones of the most national and international tourist attraction in the country, he communicated that there have already been cases of overpopulation of tourists in a natural protected area, which have put the areas at risk, closing them and therefore the authorities seek more controls for regulation.

With respect to the projection that the State Secretary of Tourism, Katyna de la Vega, will make about the creation of 9 eco-tourist centers close to the Maya Train, he said: “I have no qualms about whether they create one or ten, you just have to consider the sites to visit, since they all have a limit of acceptable exchange, because upon it being exceeded the place and its environment could be at risk.”

Romani Cortés, insisted on saying that the capacity that the Palenque area can support is 700,000 people and that: “those will be the ones they allow to pass.” However, he did not rule out the opening of new spaces that would undoubtedly benefit the local and national economy, through the new attractive places, which diversifies the offer.

However, he urged respect for the normative system that already exists, like the management system, which will be the one they will follow and apply for the purpose of not affecting the biodiversity present inside of a protected area.

“If there is a path that accepts the visitation of 200 people per day, but then they ask us to let 1,000 enter, the contamination and support would reach its limit. Therefore, we have to talk to the population, since that would harm a place, under a strict norm and geographic, faunal, spatial y floristic analysis” he said.


Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee


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