One of the municipalities where the most beach concessions have been granted is Isla Mujeres.
During 2019, in the first year of the current administration, the number of concession permits for the use and private use of the beaches of the Mexican Caribbean skyrocketed.
At the end of 2018, the federal government, from the Undersecretary of Tourism, questioned the privatization of the country’s beaches carried out by the outgoing administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, which in its last year granted 268 concession titles of Mexican beaches to individuals and companies private, of which 56 were in Quintana Roo.
This amount was double the 123 permits issued in 2017 for the entire country. However, for 2019 the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, through the General Directorate of the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone and Coastal Environments, granted 1,033 concession permits, of which 247 were on Quintana Roo beaches. Almost five times more than those delivered in the last year of Enrique Peña Nieto.
One of the municipalities where the most beach concessions have been granted is Isla Mujeres, mainly on the mainland, where more than 30 thousand hotel rooms are currently being built. In this demarcation, 36 exploitation permits were authorized last year.
Another of the municipalities with the greatest potential for hotel development is Lázaro Cárdenas, in the Holbox and Chiquilá area, where 22 permits were granted for the use of beaches .
In already established tourist destinations such as Playa del Carmen, one of the cities with the highest urban growth in the country, 38 beach concession titles were awarded, while in Cozumel 27 were granted
and in Tulum, 21. In the Costa Maya, from the municipality of Othón P. Blanco, 24 titles were approved.
However, Cancun accounts for most of the concessioned beaches, with 79 titles awarded to individuals or companies.
The General Law of National Assets establishes that Mexican beaches are assets of common use and free transit and access is guaranteed, even when there is a Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone concession, that is, the 20-meter strip continues to the coastline.
However, in practice, the beaches of the Mexican Caribbean have become difficult to access in many areas and the only way to travel is to pay a recovery fee established by hotel complexes or beach clubs.
In a query carried out by the Undersecretary of Tourism in 2019 to find out the status of access to the beaches, Quintana Roo monopolized more than a quarter of the complaints from the entire country.
The collection of a fee of 100 pesos to access the Akumal beach, the lack of public access in the Hotel Zone of Tulum, or the reduction and poor condition of access in Cancun are some of the most recurrent.
To the unusual number of permits granted during 2019 are added the irregularities in the types of permits, as some hotel complexes obtained concessions for the use of “protection” or “decoration”, but that in reality, their use is related to the profit-making activity.
A project of 14 hotel-residential buildings in the continental zone of Isla Mujeres, the Maroma hotel in Playa del Carmen, Hotel Senator, Planet Hollywood Resort, also in the Isla Blanca area, Grupo RIU were favored with beach concessions for the purposes of “Environmental protection”, whose cost is up to five times less than “general use”.