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Local Island NEWS in English - Updated Weekly
News for the Week of September 1, 2014

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.

We appreciate hearing from our readers and welcome your questions, suggestions and comments. Please send them to:

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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EDITOR's NOTE: Tourism is a large part of the economic engine that runs ALL of Mexico so it’s normal for everyone to try to protect that engine at all costs. But given the fact that over 83,541 people (a/o 12/31/11 per El Diario report of 08/04/12) were killed in this country, 30,000 are missing and 20,000 children were orphaned while Calderon was in office (20006 - 20012) and fighting the drug cartels, it is simply imprudent to bury one’s head in the sand and keep expecting travelers to believe the “it’s safe” story about Mexico. The Pina Nieto administration has not changed course concerning the cartels but instead modified its approach concerning the reporting of such government activities. Little information is available now via official channels other than statistics with regard to criminal activity within Mexico

Some of the news related items shared here attempt to illustrate common themes which I think are extremely important for part time islanders or travelers to understand now:

1) These are not the sleepy fishing villages of days gone by - Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel tout themselves as "world class" tourism destinations with over 3 million visitors each annually and as such will attract their proportionate amounts of crime.

2) There IS rising crime in these areas (so be ALERT and AWARE of your surroundings) yet the majority of crime goes unreported so there is no real way to have confidence in the few statistics that are released for this area.

3) Local/state police/judges, are for the most part, corrupt and usually complicit with criminal activity so they are not necessarily going to help you…especially if you are a foreigner. These "public servants" are only looking for a way to extort you (REALIZE you are on your OWN if anything should happen).

NEWS Archives:
Cozumel Arrivals: Only 12 Ships this Week
08/31 - Numbers sink to their lowest levels yet this week in Cozumel as cruise ship arrivals drop to 12 ships registered to dock for the first week of September 2014. This is 3 less than the number of ships last week and 8 less than the "20 in port" which marks a "high season" beginning. With summer almost over and school beginning, an estimated 36,000 people will visit Cozumel this week via these cruise ship leaving an estimated US$ 2.9 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 7 ships dock at Puerta Maya, 3 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 2 ships docking on Monday, 2 on Tuesday, 2 ships Wednesday, 3 on Thursday, 2 on Friday and then Saturday will bring 1 ship in port and Sunday will see -0- ships.

View the Cruise Ship Calendar for this Week
Cozumel: Possible Reef Damage Due Construction
The President of the environmental organization Citymar of Cozumel, Guadalupe Álvarez Chulim announced that it filed a complaint with federal authorities due to the serious effects that occur on Paradise Reef because of the expansion of the Puerta Maya Pier because the established guidelines are not respected.

The environmentalist said it was regrettable that authorities do not take into account this type of impact when it comes time to authorize tourism projects, stating that it is time that something is done since people continue impacting the natural resources of the island with impunity.

Also mentioned is that they will wait for a positive response from the authorities such as Profepa and Semarnat, that will verify this complaint substantiated with photographs which show the damages that the reef has suffered from this work.

Guadalupe Álvarez Chulim commented that in photographs provided by divers working in the area of the reef, that there is a metal staircase which is located on the reef, as well as a tube of great dimension which workers use but which causes the sediment to rise and ends up on the corals. In addition, biologists say that damage to the reef next to the Puerta Maya Pier area might compare with the grounding of a ship. The metal structure is located on a reef which puts at risk the natural wealth and the economic activities of Cozumel.

It has been demanded that authorities take these matters into consideration because they should not put the stability of the marine ecosystem at risk and the work of thousands of people who rely on these reefs as tourist attractions.
Mayan Astronomy and Archaeology Experts Visit Cozumel
Specialists from around the world exchanged ideas, thoughts, and advances in the research of the Maya Cosmo vision at the recently held meeting called "The Role of Archaeoastronomy in the Maya world: the case of Cozumel island."

This international meeting was held from August 27 to 29 and was organized by the Governments of the State of Quintana Roo and El Ayuntamiento de Cozumel, as well as the Mexico Office of the United Nations Organization for education, science and culture (UNESCO). According to information released by the organizers, for three days these meetings offered conferences, which mainly addressed issues of Archaeoastronomy, systems of communication between the island and the Mainland throughout its history and the exchange of goods and information between Cozumel and the Mayan world of the mainland.

After the inauguration held by State government authorities and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the international meeting started with a conference for attendees called "Megalithic Circle of Odry, Poland" conducted by Stanislaw Iwaniszewski a national school of anthropology and history (ENAH) specialist. Other conferences during the 3 day period featured national specialists and participating experts from France, South Africa, Puerto Rico and Peru such as Michel Cotte, Jarita Holbrook, Ángel Rodríguez and Ivan Ghezzi, respectively.
Crocodiles of Cozumel Represent Diversity
Cozumel’s mangroves are home to many different species of animals and plants and for this reason, the island is recognized by the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO) as Mexico's island with the greatest diversity of species of amphibians and reptiles.

At the top of the food chain is the crocodile Acutus, which is endangered in most of the Americas. In Mexico it is subject to special protection.
The Foundation of parks and museums of Cozumel (FPMC) said in a report that in Colombia Lagoon, which is part of the nature reserve of Punta Sur, that there are approximately 400 crocodiles that inhabit the coastal island lagoons and mangrove area.

In tours offered to tourists on Columbia Lagoon, you can see them regularly basking in the sun. At night is when they hunt for their food. In December, 2012, the management of conservation and environmental education (CEA) of the FPMC detected that adult specimens of this species showed a high degree of malnutrition. The CEA, supported by a specialist from African Safari wildlife, made samples of tissue and blood from the animals that live in the lagoon to get to know the causes, however, it was never determined. CONABIO says that the states where these reptiles are at greater risk of exploitation are Yucatán, Quintana Roo, Chiapas, Guerrero, Colima, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit and Sinaloa.
Sporting Events in Cozumel Support Low Season
The low hotel occupancy that follows after the summer vacation period is tough to survive but members of the Association of Hotels of Cozumel (AHC) say they rely on the island sporting events held in the "off season" months of September and October. These 2 months are considered the lowest of the year in terms of tourists and hotel occupancy. The sporting events held during these off months serve to help hotels make it through the drop in tourism.

Statistics on the last holidays of the 2014 summer reached notably higher occupancy levels as compared with last year’s where it had been very slow. The summer of 2013 recorded a closing of 65% occupancy while this year summer holidays closed with occupancy levels above 78% with one day where it reached 88.66% among the reporting hotels.

September and October are critically low months for the hospitality industry of the island but due to actions and interest of governmental authorities as well as private initiative whereby different events are being And now new event will be held for the first time this year: the Iron Kids Cozumel 2014.

Cozumel officials feel hopeful that these events can somehow translate into much needed support for the hospitality and commercial sector of the Island of the Swallows during low season.
Cozumel Receives Recognition for Tire Disposal
The Coordinator of the Center for collection of recyclable materials (CAMAR), Abed Zapata Silva, said that City Hall will receive recognition from the Ecoltec Company, with the campaign "Zero Tires Isla Cozumel." "The success of the program: "Zero Tires Isla Cozumel” is a product of the effort and work of the municipal government, to form an island with environmental sustainability and health," he said.

In September 2011, the program was launched and has already processed 330,000 kilos of old tires, and soon another 30,000 kilos reported Zapata Silva. It has also been stated that Cozumel is the only municipality of Quintana Roo that has a permanent program that meets the needs of safely disposing of such waste which requires special handling. These old tires are not only ugly and often discarded in visible public areas but they create a health hazard because they can manifest into incubators of the mosquito that transmits dengue.
Cozumel's Hotel Employees Suffer Through Low Season
Ediel Manuel Jiménez Oxté, leader of the labor union that provides services for 7 hotels and 4 large restaurants on the island, confirmed that hotel occupancy is down and getting even lower. Several hotels are looking to fill their rooms by lowering rates in order to encourage the occupancy numbers upward. However, this strategy has a direct negative impact on the hotel and restaurant employees because lowering the prices of the rooms also lowers gratuities.

September and October denotes a difficult season for workers. The picture is not encouraging considering low occupancy rates. The period of nearly 60 days for two months, will be the most complicated part for employees in the hospitality industry until the Ironman 2014 world event arrives in late November. Previous editions of Ironman reflected considerable increase in occupancy rates of the island hotels which will benefit the tourism sector and therefore the workers.

Many hotel workers are simply laid off during these 60 days. Those who hail from other parts of Mexico often return home for an extended visit and will return in December as high season picks up again. Those who elect to remain on the island without their hotel jobs will look for work in masonry, carpentry or other activities to support the family.
Isla Holbox Celebrates the Whale Shark
Inhabitants of the island of Holbox commemorated the “Day of the Whale Shark” in Mexico, which was unveiled in 2008 in light of the second International Conference on this species that was held in this paradise location and involves many different countries from around the world. Alejandro Pacheco Cetina and Alejandrina Selem Salas, residents of Holbox, took the initiative this week to summon service providers of different areas to arrange a celebration for this important day for this destination.

The event served to celebrate the “Day of the Whale Shark” in Mexico which is officially celebrated on August 30. In addition, it aimed to position to Holbox as an original and natural whale shark sanctuary because the island is a forerunner in whale watching and swimming with these gentle and huge animals. Activities began at 7am in the morning with distribution of t-shirts and food at the dock before tourists were leaving on their whale shark tours. The rest of the activities included floral offerings made in the sea, talks with biologists and the participation of cooperative members talking about the regulations that apply to swim with the whale shark now in the waters around Yucatan and Quintana Roo. Read More About Whale Sharks
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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. - Free Shipping
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