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Local Island NEWS in English - Updated Weekly
News for the Week of July 28, 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: 15 Ships this Week
07/27 - Numbers remain the same this week in Cozumel as cruise ship arrivals stay at 15 ships registered to dock for the fourth full week of July 2014. This is the same as the number of ships the past 3 weeks and 5 less than the "20 in port" which marks a "high season" beginning. With summer now in full swing, an estimated 45,000 people will visit Cozumel this week via these cruise ship arrivals 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, 5 will dock at TMM/SSA International pier while Punta Langosta pier will see 1 arrival and the downtown San Miguel pier will have -0- ship arrivals.

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

View the Cruise Ship Calendar for this Week
Cozumel's Taxi's Waiting for Fare Increase
The Union of taxi drivers is still awaiting a response about an increase in rates for Taxis in Cozumel. This request comes about due to the increase in gasoline prices.
Fernando Marrufo Martín, general Secretary of the Union of taxis in Cozumel, said that they have not yet received a response from a request they issued on new rates for the island. Several factors have changed considerably and this has affected the economy of taxi drivers.
The Board of the taxi drivers on the island said that they have insisted on this issue with the authorities of SINTRA. There has not been an increase since 2012 and the increase in the price of gasoline has been rising consistently and this has impacted the services provided.
He said that Cozumel has competitive rates in taxi service, in relation to other tourist destinations in the area, "they have always said that we have expensive rates, but the reality is that we are within what the law says, even similar to rates applied to other destinations in the State. Marrufo Martin says: “we do not believe that Cozumel has high prices".
Finally, he added that members of the Union have made a major effort to modernize its units with models from 2005 and 2007, but he acknowledged that there are still others who need to renew their vehicles, "We hope that some taxi owners (with the authorization for the increase of the rates) will obtain the necessary resources to be able to acquire more modern vehicles. It is important that Cozumel updates its taxis since it is a prime vacation destination.
Cozumel and the Riviera Maya, Top Destinations Worldwide
Cozumel and the Riviera Maya were positioned as the most attractive tourist destinations in the world as was stated by the Director of Tourist Promotion: Dario Flota Ocampo in a recent media convention in Mexico City.
These two tourist destinations in Quintana Roo provide a variety of hotels for all budgets, restaurants, sites of interest and a wide range of activities, many of which have international certification in addition to the main attraction of Sun and Beach.
Flota Ocampo explained that the event was attended by 53 representatives of media specializing in tourism, sports, gastronomy, culture and business.
He explained that the Director of promotion and marketing, Lizzie Cole, gave a seminar to update the two tourist destinations to 70 travel agents of the Federal District and the State of Mexico.

This information was based on the following: The Riviera Maya provides for a higher level of tourism. The Mexican Caribbean is committed with the environment with new options for lodging and entertainment. Cozumel is referred to as the island of peace and sports.

He pointed out that the new options of lodging and entertainment in the Riviera Maya highlights the Vidanta theater, which will be home to Cirque du Soleil, a Vidanta group-driven project that invested 20 million dollars and will be operating by the end of this year. This will be the first production of Cirque du Soleil outside of Las Vegas and Orlando with a space for 600 people and the show is intended to combine dinners of international cuisine.
In the case of Cozumel, besides being the port that receives more cruises in Mexico is an island of extraordinary beauty, and known for being a safe secure place to visit.
In recent years, Cozumel has become well known worldwide for its attraction to sporting events such as the “IRONMAN” and “HALF IRONMAN” competition.
Cozumel Guarantees Water Quality
The State Director of drinking water and sewerage (CAPA) Paula González Cetina states that the water that is generated on the island complies with the standards required in the field of health for human consumption despite the fact that she could not specify what percentage of the hydraulic system of the city has been supplemented because the main material is asbestos.
Meanwhile, José Luis Chacón Méndez, Manager of the local chapter, reported that there is an advance of 70% of the network which has been supplemented by other materials, leaving only 30% of asbestos resulting in "raw" water tanks where the water is processed, chlorinated and monitored prior to its distribution to the population.
Staff of the State for CAPA added that they have changed 70% of the pipe coating throughout the city according to technical information from CAPA in Cozumel.
It should be recalled that last March 26, 2013, the Governor of the State, announced that he was in talks with the director of the National Commission of water (Conagua) at the national level and representatives of the Secretariat of environment and natural resources (Semarnat) "to change all the older pipes on the island.
Cozumel's Calesa Service is Dimishing
Cozumel’s Horse and Carriage “Calesa” business is not going well at the moment. Drivers mentioned that that they are between 20 to 30 percent of normal services which means only one or two trips per day.

Pedro Fernández explained that the strong heat forces to them to reduce service prices due to the fact that tourists prefer go to the beaches to cool down. The hot sun affects everyone, including the Coachmen and horses.
He said, "our shift is a full eight hours and revenues are too low. Since we live by commission for the trips we provide to tourists, this reduces our income, and we can barely support our families".

Saúl Pool and Luis Briceño also agreed and mentioned that the demands for services are diminishing.

Another younger horseman, Erick Dzib, said that he is not earning sufficient money despite the large amount of foreign and national tourists walking on the Boardwalk and he still must dependent on his parents.
Cozumel Needs a Cleaner Image
Employees of business establishments on Cozumel’s main Avenue Rafael E. Melgar publicly denounced the bad image of collected garbage on the beach and the waterfront area. Accumulated wastes include plastics, plates, alcoholic beverages containers and even remains of fish. During a tour of the beach area which includes the main Avenue between 4 and 10 North (an area where fishing boats dock), one can observe the presence of a large amount of garbage accumulated in the sand.
Employees of the area commented that waste is dumped by people who come to visit the Boardwalk at night including sailors and the occasional fisherman.
A tourist commented that it is necessary to increase vigilance and fine people who drop rubbish on the beaches.
Last March 8, 2014 students from an upper level conservation, research and environmental organization of Cozumel (CIMAC) carried out a cleaning of the beaches.
Collectively they accumulated 99 kilograms of waste in the area from the "Las Casitas" beach to the Aqua Safari pier. Objects recovered were containers of glass, plastic disposable cups, and wrappers of fried foods among other types of non-organic waste.
Cozumel Continues Beach Cleaning Program
35 citizens, adults, youths and children participated in a beach cleaning project organized by the Directorate of coastal planning and Zofemat, involving staff of the unit and volunteers. At 8 AM on July 26th the volunteers arrived at the eastern zone in buses provided by the City Council where they cleaned beaches such as "Chen Río" and "San Martín", which are currently frequented by tourists.
David Alfonso Viana Martínez, director of coastal planning and Zofemat, explained that the task has intensified during these summer holidays. The official explained that this permanent program of beach cleaning invites anyone to participate.
"The reason we encourage the public carry out the cleaning of beaches is because it is the image of Cozumel as tourist destination and it is important to keep them looking presentable” said the official
USA: Loggerhead Habitat Conservation in Gulf of Mexico
NOAA, FWS Establish Critical Habitat for Loggerhead Sea Turtles in Northwest Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico
7/09-The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) and the Department of Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) today announced two final rules to establish and designate critical habitat for the threatened loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) in the Atlantic Ocean and on coastal beach habitat along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

The NOAA-designated marine critical habitat includes some nearshore reproductive areas directly off of nesting beaches from North Carolina through Mississippi, winter habitat in North Carolina, breeding habitat in Florida, constricted migratory corridors in North Carolina and Florida, and Sargassum habitat, which is home to the majority of juvenile turtles, in the western Gulf of Mexico and in U.S. waters within the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean.

The USFWS-designated terrestrial critical habitat areas include 88 nesting beaches in coastal counties located in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. These beaches account for 48 percent of an estimated 1,531 miles of coastal beach shoreline used by loggerheads, and about 84 percent of the documented numbers of nests, within these six states.

“Protecting endangered and threatened species, including loggerhead sea turtles, is at the core of NOAA’s mission,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. “Given the vital role loggerhead sea turtles play in maintaining the health of our oceans, rebuilding their populations is key as we work to ensure healthy and resilient oceans for generations to come.”

“The fate of more than just the loggerhead sea turtle rests on the health of Atlantic coastal environments,” said USFWS Director Dan Ashe. “Coastal communities from North Carolina to Mississippi are also intrinsically tied to these shorelines and waters. By conserving the turtle and protecting its habitat, we are helping preserve not only this emblematic species, but also the way of life for millions of Americans.”

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires that NOAA Fisheries and USFWS, the two federal agencies responsible for administering the act, designate critical habitat when a species is listed, or within one year if critical habitat is not determinable at that time. Although loggerhead sea turtles were originally listed in 1978 worldwide, the listing was revised in 2011, when nine distinct population segments (DPS) were listed, including the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS and the North Pacific Ocean DPS, the only two that occur in areas under U.S. jurisdiction.

Under the ESA, critical habitat identifies geographic areas containing features essential to the conservation of a listed species. Critical habitat designations do not create preserves or refuges or affect land ownership, and only result in restrictions on human activities in situations where federal actions, funding or permitting are involved. In those cases, the federal agency concerned works with NOAA Fisheries or USFWS to avoid, reduce or mitigate potential impacts to the species’ habitat. Critical habitat is only designated within U.S. jurisdiction.

The loggerhead is the most common sea turtle in southeastern United States, nesting along the Atlantic Coast of Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina and along the Gulf Coast. It is a long-lived, slow-growing species, vulnerable to various threats including alterations to beaches, vessel strikes and bycatch in fishing nets.

The proposed rules, which were published in the Federal Register on March 25, 2013 (USFWS) and July 18, 2013 (NOAA Fisheries), were both made available for extended public comment. NOAA Fisheries and USFWS each held three public hearings during the comment periods on their proposed rules (NOAA Fisheries in Morehead City, Wilmington and Manteo, N.C.; USFWS in Charleston, SC, and Wilmington and Morehead City, N.C.).

Source: NOAA Press Release
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July 12, 2013 (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 July 12, 2013 from the Department of State can also be viewed in its entirety on the Department of State website.

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