lifestyle, travel This is Cozumel

A project to construct a fourth cruise pier in Cozumel was announced by Mexican President, Andrés López, last week.

The president mentioned the plan as part of a wider statement about infrastructure investment in Mexico. He said that 511 million pesos (around $24 million) would be invested in the new island project.

No more details were given, but rumors have been rife on the island and in local press for months now that a controversial new cruise pier would be built close to the vehicle ferry, just south of downtown. Environmentalists fear the project will damage the marine park and other ecosystems around it.

Carmen Joaquin, president of the business association Coparmex in Cozumel, told This is Cozumel she welcomed the new investment, but that it is also important the island diversifies its economy so it is not so dependent on cruise tourism.

With the COVID crisis and suspension of cruises it has become only too apparent how dependent Cozumel is on cruise ships. The economy and employment has collapsed and some islanders are struggling to feed their families, which led to us launch the Cozumel Food Aid campaign earlier in the year.

Support Food Aid Cozumel

Although the island has been open to tourists for months and hotels are welcoming guests, according to port authority data, 2.3 million less visitors arrived to Cozumel on cruise ships in the first 9 months of 2020 compared with 2019, a drop of 67%, which has caused the economic crisis on the island.

The U.S. has extended its "no sail order" on cruise ships multiple times and the cruise lines themselves have continuously pushed back their restart dates. Although there is still hope ships will return in November there is also now a growing fear that they won't return to the island until some time in 2021.

All this highlights the need to attract new types of investment and tourism in Cozumel. Joaquin said the island needs to think outside the box and seek investment in other industries, such as real estate, retirement communities, and cultural and medical tourism, as well as improve connectivity by sea and air and reinforce the hotel sector, all of which will make the economy more resilient to crises.

Find our more about cruise lines that visit Cozumel and the 3 cruise terminals the island already has.

Support Food Aid Cozumel