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Local Island NEWS in English - Updated Weekly
News for the Week of September 22, 2014

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Beginning in December 2002, Insider was proudly the first website to provide readers the Cozumel News in English.

Articles are slected from local newspapers which we feel will be of interest to our diverse audience. These articles are then translated into English. We cannot always investigate the veracity of a particular article but offer these translations as a reflection of the Cozumel community news just as reporters write it for Por Esto, Diario de Quintana Roo, Novedades and El Seminario and many other sources.

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Note: All translated articles are the property of Cozumel Insider and cannot be used, displayed or reproduced without express written permission from Cozumel Insider.

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Cozumel Arrivals: 15 Ships this Week
09/21 - Numbers remain very low this week in Cozumel as cruise ship arrivals rise to 15 ships registered to dock for the fourth full week of September 2014. This is 1 less than the number of ships last week and 5 less than the "20 in port" which marks a "high season" beginning. With summer now over and Fall underway an estimated 45,000 people will visit Cozumel this week via these cruise ship leaving an estimated US$ 3.6 million dollars behind in the local economy.

High season for cruise ship arrivals typically runs from November 15 - April 15 each year with the remaining 7 months of the year considered "low season."

Once again this week Puerta Maya pier will be the big economic winner as 9 ships dock at Puerta Maya, 4 will dock at TMM/SSA International pier while Punta Langosta pier will see 2 arrivals and the downtown San Miguel pier will have -0- ship arrivals.

This week begins with 1 ship docking on Monday, 4 on Tuesday, 2 ships Wednesday, 2 on Thursday, 3 on Friday and then Saturday will bring 3 ships in port and Sunday will see -0- ships.

View the Cruise Ship Calendar for this Week
Cozumel Ready for Ironman 70.3
Last Thursday, the island began preparations for the half Ironman 70.3 with the arrival of some 6,000 tourists between athletes and family members who will attend the International sporting event. This is the third annual event, confirmed Juan Emmanuel González Castelán, municipal tourism director. The Manager of the Association of hotels in Cozumel, Isela Valenzuela Jiménez, stated that the occupation of rooms rose up to 75% of the 3,050 rooms available, while at the sponsoring hotel, the occupation will be around 100%. About 2,000 athletes were expected to participate and go the distance of 70.3 miles between swimming, bicycling and running.

González Castelan said that the presence of sports of this type contribute to the popularity of the destination as a point of reference at the international level. It has been the objective to bring tourism to the Island in the months of September and October when activity is low. That is why six years ago, the State Government and the municipal authority attracted the Ford Ironman to improve tourism and economic benefits.

On Sunday the race was held in clear, fine Cozumel weather which brought out big crowds all around the island to watch the competition.
Cozumel Participates in International Beach Cleaning
On Saturday Sept 20th, Cozumel participated in the “International Beach Cleaning” program. The goal was to provide the removal of any residue covering 25 kilometers of beaches. The annual program is carried out by the Parks and Museums Foundation of Cozumel (FPMC). This annual beach cleaning activity has taken place all over Mexico since 1989 and was pioneered by the FPMC.

Approximately 450 volunteers assisted to clean coastal glass, metal, but mainly plastics that are thrown by beach goers. Strong sea currents are also responsible for depositing trash on the islands beaches every day.

According to Héctor González, this year marks the 25 anniversary of FPMC participation supported by inhabitants of the island making the cleaning of beaches in the framework of the International Conference in which over 123 countries participate and with over 648,000 volunteers around the world.

Since the inauguration of the event, 12,329,332 pounds of waste covering 12,914 miles of beaches has been collected.
Construction of Artificial Reefs to Begin
The absence of natural reef systems for the practice of diving in the Northern part of Cozumel past the El Cozumeleño hotel will lead to the project of placing a total of 64 pieces of an amalgam of stone and steel. The project is expected to have an investment of one million pesos.

The entire burden of diving-related activity is concentrated on the South coast of the island, generating hundreds even thousands of divers per day especially in the high season.

The Northern part of the Island offers activities such as sand, sun, kayaks etc… but no such activity such as snorkeling although there are so many fish to admire. The issue of diving is somewhat out of place in this site, until the possibility was discussed by Francisco Camaño, director general of the company responsible for the manufacture of structures,” Qualti”. He specifies that the immersion of the sculptures is due to a restoration project to release the strain to natural reefs of the South of the island. There could be an option for the practice of diving in the north and avoid any further damage to the natural reef in the south.

Each artificial structure would be one meter high and one meter wide and two meters long, weighing two tons. These monoliths trapezoids would be placed and would need approximately 10 years under water to begin colonization of marine flora and fauna.
Cozumel's "Coati" Species in Danger of Extinction
The International Union for the conservation of nature has placed an endemic species to Cozumel the "Coati Cozumel" (Nasua nelsoni), also known as a Badger, on in the red list of threatened species. “Its population is already very low” stated an official according to reports by the staff of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas in Cozumel. The Dwarf Raccoon along with the Coati Cozumeleño is also in danger of extinction. Cozumel Island’s Coati is smaller than their relatives on the Mainland and the environmental authorities of Mexico consider it as a separate and endangered species.
More Promotion Needed for Existing Artificial Reefs
It has been several years since the sinking of the boats "Laguna de Mandinga" and "Lake of Patzcuaro" off the waters of Cozumel however, the quantity of tourists who dive this area has been low. It seems to be clear that visitors who come in search of diving prefer natural reef areas. According to information provided by the National Marine Park of Cozumel reefs, this attraction not has been promoted adequately by both the authorities and dive operations.

These boats are located outside the Marine Park area at “La Casitas” Beach and they were sunk in June 2006 during the administration of Gustavo Ortega Joaquín, after being donated by the Navy to the city of Cozumel Mexico to create artificial reefs following the devastation of Hurricanes Emily and Wilma that hit the island in 2005.

Sources from Marine Park said that since the wrecks have not been promoted properly, the authorities have not been fulfilling their mission of subtracting the workload placed on the natural reefs. It is urgent to implement strategies allowing more publicity of this type of attraction in Cozumel. The two sunken ships already house villages of coral and a large amount of marine life which have taken shelter in this area. Along with diving, snorkeling could be encouraged more so that tourists experience a different aspect of Cozumel.
Cozumel to Provide Maps for Reference Points
The head of the Department of Urban Development, Humberto Suárez Castillo, reported that the Island will put into place 27 maps starting from the center of the city and throughout the entire island. He said that in conjunction with the office of tourism, an analysis was made and officials studied the places with the greatest influx of people. These maps will direct visitors to places of interest. He added that the maps will show access to the piers as well as in the Municipal market among other places visited by tourists. For greater durability, the structures will be made of stainless steel, a weather-resistant material.
Jellyfish in Abundance in the Riviera Maya
Jellyfish, known in the Caribbean as “Agua Mala” are invertebrates of which little is known. However, an abundance of these Jellyfish in the area has led to an investigation. They have begun to populate the oceans here probably due to the fact that the characteristics of ocean water has changed such as changes in temperature and salinity.

In some Asian countries, Medusa are captured for food as if it were any other fish. In China, for example, it is consumed to regulate blood pressure. There are some studies on medical treatment, but not in Mexico.

A specialist in marine zooplankton and microorganisms, Iván Castellanos Osorio, states that in the Caribbean Sea there are about 88 different species of recorded jellyfish. 15 of these different species can be found off the coasts of Quintana Roo.

The body of a jelly fish is made up of 95% water. That is why they appear transparent. A fact that provides a perfect camouflage.The body consists of three main parts: the umbrella, the oral arms surrounding the mouth and stinging tentacles. They have an internal cavity where digestion takes place, called the gastro vascular cavity, and has a single opening that performs the functions of the mouth and anus.

They are carnivorous and feed mainly on zooplankton, small crustaceans, although part of their diet could consist of some small size fish or other jellyfish. .
US Citizen Travel: Up 15% in May
9/15 - The US Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration released the latest data on US Citizen Outbound travel. Trips by US Citizens totaled 5.9 million travelers for the month of May and 25.4 million for the current year so far. The year-to-date travel for U.S. Citizens departing the U.S. was up 11%.

May 2014/2013 Comparisons

US travel to overseas markets totaled 2.91 million, up 9% in May and up 6% for the year.
Regional results were:

Europe, 1,306,000 travelers, up 8%
Caribbean, 624,000 travelers, up 16%
Asia, 379,000 travelers, up 3%
Central America, 209,000 travelers, up 11 %
Middle East, 162,000 travelers, up 12 %
South America, 144,000 travelers, up 4%
Oceania, 46,000 travelers, up 15 %
Africa, 36,000 travelers, up 4%

U.S. travel to other North American markets totaled 3.03 million, up 20 % compared to May 2013.
Canada, 1.07 million travelers, up 4% with air travel (363,000) up 11 %
Mexico, 1.96 million US travelers, up 28 percent;
air travel (581,000) up 17 % with US to Mexican border traffic (within 40 kilometers) up 51 % !!

May 2014 YTD Market Share

U.S. travel to overseas locations accounted for 47 % of U.S. outbound international travel.
Europe, a 16% share;
Caribbean, a 12% share;
Asia, a 7% share;
Central America, a 5% share;
South America, a 3% share;
Middle East, a 3 %t share;
Oceania, a 1 %share, and
Africa, almost a 1% share

North American markets received 53 % of all U.S. international outbound travel.

US travel to Mexico a 40 % share and
Canada a 13 % share.

NTTO reports US outbound travel monthly by all modes, expanding beyond air-only traffic. Total departure travel, inclusive of all modes, to Canada and Mexico is reported in addition to the air-only subtotals. The timing of this report is dependent on receipt of aggregate data from Stats Canada and Banco de Mexico ~ hence the delayed timeframe of reporting only through May 2014.
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NEW August 13, 2014 (Most Recent) Comprehensive Mexico Travel Warning
Because we are continually asked about travel safety in Mexico and Cozumel, INSIDER always maintains the most recent, complete version of the U.S. State Department Mexico Travel Warning HERE on our website for traveler convenience.

The good news continues to be that there are currently no regional security warnings in place that cover Quintana Roo, Cancun, Cozumel or Costa Maya so make vacation plans now to get here for some fun in the sun!

The Mexico Travel Warning dated August 13, 2014 from the Department of State can also be viewed in its entirety on the Department of State website.
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