Work started on the construction of a new 'luxury marina complex' in Cozumel earlier this month.

The Mexican Secretary for Tourism, Rodolfo Elizondo Torres, and the head of the National Fund for Tourism Promotion, Miguel Gómez Mont, visited the island to lay the first stone.

The project, called Marina Cozumel, will have space for 330 boats, hotels, residential properties, shops, a pier, pathes, cycle ways and public spaces.

Gómez said $37.4 million in public funds are being invested in the project and that they hope to attract a further $191 million of private money.

He added that it could lead to as many as 36,000 new visitors to the island every year and help create more than 1,000 new jobs.

The new development is on the site of the existing La Caleta marina. It will include the nearby El Aerolito cenote (natural sink hole) and is close to the Marine Park reefs and protected mangroves.

Questions have been raised locally about the legality of the construction in an environmentally sensitive zone, but the Government said it would help "clean up" and "substantially improve" the image of the area.