For Mexico, the Caribbean coastline attracts more than 10 million visitors and generates $8billion in tourism-related revenue a year. Mexico’s tourism industry has had to battle swine flu outbreaks, drug-war violence and intense storms over the past decade. However now a new threat has emerged which may be the most serious crisis yet…too much Seaweed.
Yes it sounds like a joke, but in recent years from Barbados to Belize, Cancun to Tulum, a viny brown seaweed known as sargassum has begun to pile up on shores at a record pace. In some places the piles of seaweed have grown so high that people have been forced to abandon their homes. The fact that the seaweed brings an ugly layer which covers the natural beauty of the white sand beaches isn’t even the worst part of the problem. Its the putrid smell. The stench of decomposing seaweed, along with the dead fish and turtles caught within it, is causing flat out nausea among tourists, and this problem has caused legislature in many Caribbean islands and in Mexico to declare this a natural disaster.
For Mexico, this has become a Cabinet-level crisis. Eduardo Mariscal de la Selva, the director general of Cancun’s maritime department, recently said “Beaches are what we sell to the whole world and what we depend on for our income…and hotel guests paying $500 a night do not want to open the shades to find paradise matted down under layers of stinking, fly-infested algae.” Some hotels are even being forced to offer 25 percent discounts beyond the norm to attract customers willing to ignore the nauseating Stench.
Since the massive seaweed pileup hit disaster levels this summer, Mexico has called in its Naval Fleet to help along with 5,000 day laborers to spearhead a clean-up effort. The Navy is attempting to collect the sargassum off the coastline in the sea, before it sinks and becomes a tourist nightmare on the beaches.
We at North County Immigration don’t really like the idea of vacationing on a smelly beach….so if you are planning a getaway south of the border we would recommend staying on the Pacific Ocean side of the map for your travel plans.