Hoteliers present The Seas We Love, an initiative to take advantage of sargassum in the Riviera Maya

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The problem of the arrival of sargassum is equivalent to a reduction of more than 40 billion pesos on the GDP of Quintana Roo.

The Riviera Maya Hotel Association (AHRM) presented the initiative The Seas We Love (TSWL) and the BBVA 2023 National Sustainability Challenge that seeks initiatives to mitigate and take advantage of sargassum, which they claim has caused a reduction of up to 11.6 % of the Gross Domestic Product of Quintana Roo.

The president of the AHRM, Toni Chaves, expressed that according to the study The economic impact of sargassum: evidence from the Mexican coast, by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the problem of the arrival of sargassum is equivalent to a reduction of more than 40 billion pesos on the GDP of Quintana Roo, as indicated by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI).

In this sense, the business leader stressed the importance of creating synergies and motivating the participation of all the protagonists of economic activity to face this environmental crisis that, although it affects everyone, the hotel sector is the one that has had to assume most of the costs represented by its collection and final disposal, with an estimated annual expense of 129 million dollars.

“Sargassum is not only a problem for hoteliers. “It is an environmental problem that is impacting the loss of competitiveness of the destination, the loss of jobs and the economic impoverishment of the Caribbean region,” the US Government has been very aware of this situation that could trigger a greater migratory flow to their territory.

In the coming years, the European Union will allocate more than 45 billion euros in more than 130 projects in favor of the environment in various countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. “Of all of them, there are nine priority projects, and converting sargassum into opportunity occupies third place on their list,” said Toni Chaves, who commented that to obtain these international funds they require continuing to advance in studies that allow not only mitigate the problem, but rather create projects for the use, exploitation and commercialization of seaweed.

The hotel leader recognized that at the Government level it is not Mexico, but the Dominican Republic, the country that is leading the greatest efforts at an international level to address this contingency, while The Seas We Love (TSWL), which recently signed the Glasgow Declaration on the Climate Action in Tourism is the private body, created by the AHRM just two years ago, that contributes the most to raising awareness and seeking help to mitigate the effects caused by the massive sargassum spill.

Ignacio Muñoz, director of TSWL, highlighted as a great step that the largest bank in Mexico, BBVA, has decided to launch the first edition of its National Sustainability Challenge with the theme Containment and Use of sargassum in the Mexican Caribbean, directed to researchers, academics or university students to find innovative solutions and the best research and technological development projects for the use of sargassum.

The launch of the national call by the UNAM-TEC Consortium and BBVA began last September 21 and by November 22 the three finalists who will work on the development of the proposal and prototype will be announced. BBVA will grant a fund of 2 million pesos to the three finalists to develop the solution for 12 months. Finally, in November of next year, the best proposal in Quintana Roo will be awarded.

“The fact that the largest bank in Mexico has turned to us means that we are doing things well,” concluded Toni Chaves within the framework of the event that included the participation of businessmen, hoteliers and leaders of business groups from Quintana Roo.

Source: El Economista