Pungent seaweed threatens Mexico’s tourism growth

Vacationers are seen on a seaside coated with seaweed in Cancun, Mexico June 24, 2019. — REUTERS/JORGE DELGADO

MEXICO CITY — Tens of millions of tons of smelly brown seaweed washing up alongside Mexico’s seashores threaten a post-COVID tourism rebound as worldwide vacationers plan summer season journey, in keeping with Spanish financial institution BBVA.

Sargassum seaweed, which provides a brown tint to the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean coast and emits a sewage-like stench when it washes ashore, reached an all-time month-to-month excessive in June, in keeping with the College of South Florida. There have been 24.2 million tons recorded within the month within the Caribbean area, up from 18.8 million tons in Might.

The growth in sargassum poses a “vital risk” to the nation’s post-pandemic tourism restoration, significantly in Quintana Roo state, house to oceanfront locations like Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen, analysts from financial institution BBVA stated in a analysis word.

The seaweed outburst defied large each day efforts by Mexico’s Navy and native employees who scrambled to take away it from the water and sand.

“The sargassum… isn’t an issue that may be solved, however should always be addressed, primarily in the summertime months,” BBVA stated on Monday.

Mexico’s GDP from tourism took a 25% hit in actual phrases in 2020 because of the pandemic, regardless that the nation by no means closed its borders. In 2021, nevertheless, the sector rebounded practically to pre-pandemic ranges, in keeping with BBVA, which warned the upward trajectory was in peril until the seaweed is managed.

“The tourism sector should proceed to advertise new sights in order that the seashores are much less and fewer the rationale that draws vacationers to Quintana Roo.”

Since 2011, seaweed right here and throughout the Caribbean has exploded for causes scientists don’t but absolutely perceive.

Researchers blame a number of components, together with local weather change, human sewage, agricultural runoff and mud blowing west from Africa’s Sahara Desert. — Reuters

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