Sustainable Tourism Project at Nayarit’s Islas Marías Tourist Center
Luis Zea Mares - UNESCO
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February 21, 2024

Turismo en Islas Marías, México (Luis Zea Mares/UNESCO)

To promote sustainable tourism development in the Islas Marías Biosphere Reserve, the State Majority Participation Tourist Integral Company Islas Marías, coordinated by the Secretariat of the Navy, the Ministry of Tourism of the Government of Mexico, UNESCO, the Ministry of Tourism of the State of Nayarit, and Airbnb have joined forces to create an innovative model that promotes responsible and ecological tourism at the destination.

Through the México Renace Sostenible program, created by the Federal Ministry of Tourism, projects such as Adaptur, with climate change adaptation measures based on ecosystems, were implemented, with the valuable participation of the private sector and Kuxatur, aimed at biodiversity conservation in coastal ecosystems, among other actions.

"Sustainability, in its broadest sense, has been a fundamental piece and guiding principle of our tourism activities, and the Islas Marías are an example of product integration, a crucial factor to respond to needs, requirements, and expectations of an increasingly informed and demanding tourist," commented the Secretary of Tourism, Miguel Torruco Marqués.

"The Islas Marías Tourist Center is a space filled with culture, natural conservation, and historical rediscovery, offering a wide range of ecotourism experiences with a vision of socially inclusive tourism. Partnerships like this undoubtedly contribute to strengthening the tourist development of the Islas Marías Archipelago and the Mexican Marine Zones," declared the Director General of the Tourist Integral Company Islas Marías, Navy Captain Rafael Gómez Conejo.

The islands are also a natural heritage, having been declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2010. This is due to their ecosystems with great biological, economic, scientific, and cultural richness, including both dry forests and mangroves, as well as reefs in their surroundings. Furthermore, they are part of the registration of the Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California on the World Heritage List, also declared by UNESCO. In collaboration with Airbnb, UNESCO has an ongoing agreement and has collaborated on projects related to creative and sustainable tourism.

The National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) participated in the meeting as they will accompany the work of this alliance, ensuring that they are aligned with the preservation and sustainability of the ecosystems and natural environments of the Islas Marías.

The Islas Marías are, in turn, a biosphere reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with great tourism potential. In this alliance, we will accompany TURIIMAR to contribute to the transformation of tourism, making it sustainable and community-driven, improving the quality of life of its inhabitants and having a positive impact on the environment.

This intersectoral alliance has three fundamental pillars. First, the creation of a heritage management model as a guiding principle for sustainable tourism. Second, the strengthening of service offerings through training workshops that promote responsible tourism among local communities and tourists. And third, the implementation of dissemination strategies that contribute to positioning the Islas Marías as a reference destination for Mexico and Latin America.

"For Airbnb, it is crucial to set technology at the service of people. This alliance aims precisely to promote an innovative model where the redistribution of tourism, economic benefits, and preservation of natural ecosystems are in balance while allowing tourists - both current and future generations - to responsibly enjoy a unique destination in the world," stated Sebastián Colín, Director of Public Affairs for Airbnb in Mexico.

The Secretary of Tourism of Nayarit, Juan Enrique Suárez del Real Tostado, has stated that these kinds of alliances between responsible private initiatives and federal agencies promote the economic and social well-being of Mexico. "Trips to the Islas Marías promote tourism diversity and generate opportunities for the people of Nayarit. The alliance we have with Airbnb and UNESCO reflects our commitment to this inclusive vision of tourism development and where technology allows economic benefits to reach more hands."

This alliance was announced during the working visit from February 16 to 18, where the organizations agreed to create technical working groups aimed at fulfilling the forementioned three pillars. The alliance represents a significant milestone on the path towards more responsible and sustainable tourism in the Islas Marías. With the joint commitment of SECTUR, TURIIMAR, UNESCO, SECTUR Nayarit, and Airbnb.

Check out the photos from UNESCO's first visit to Islas Marías Tourist Center.

See the original at UNESCO

Related: Sand & Strings Music Festival: Supporting Sayulita’s Sustainability (Sayulita Life)

  Learn about Banderas Bay Initiative

  Learn about Environmental Defense Fund de México

  Learn about Costa Verde Sustainable Resource Center

  Learn about Mares Mexicanos

  Learn about Fundacion Punta de Mita

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