Cabo Rojo-Pedernales Tourism Load Study Delivered

This type of technical studies are key to provide the critical path for the sustainable development of a tourist destination such as Cabo Rojo-Pedernales

The Vice President of the Republic, Raquel Peña, in her capacity as interim Minister of the Environment, and the Minister of Tourism, David Collado, received from the executive director of the General Directorate of Public-Private Partnerships (DGAPP), Sigmund Freund, the results of the tourism carrying capacity studies carried out in Cabo Rojo and Bahía de las Águilas.

“The tourism carrying capacity studies carried out for the Cabo Rojo-Pedernales Tourism Development Project and the Public Use Zone of the Bahía de las Águilas National Recreation Area are evidence of the commitment to sustainability proposed by the Pro-Pedernales Trust Fund and the General Directorate of Public-Private Partnerships; this is the first time that comprehensive studies of this nature have been carried out for the development of a tourism center in the country,” said Freund when making the presentation.

Freund revealed that, as a result of these tourism carrying capacity studies, the Pro-Pedernales Trust and the DGAPP have favorably accepted the suggested recommendations, such as the “Proposal for the Environmental and Social Management Strategy, the request to the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources for the establishment of a co-management agreement for the public use zone of Bahía de las Águilas under the modality of territorial management and the draft of the Regulations for public use of Bahía de las Águilas, which is intended to be implemented as soon as the agreement is approved.

The official indicated that, among the most significant findings of the study is that, on the cape side, nesting areas of rhinoceros iguanas and a dry forest in a perfect state of conservation with populations of guanito, spiny melon, cayuco and alpargatas were found.

Freund explained that, given this finding, the consultants recommended reconsidering the location of a golf course that was foreseen in the Master Plan to be built in that area.

“Upon learning of this suggestion, the General Directorate of Public-Private Partnerships and the Technical Management Unit of the Pro-Pedernales Trust decided not to build the golf course in that place, so as not to affect the ecosystems present,” Freund explained and reiterated that both environmentalists and the people of Pedernales can be sure that nothing will be done in Cabo Rojo that will threaten the ecosystem.

The executive director of the DGAPP said that the tourism carrying capacity study is of vital importance because it allows to know the intensity of the use of the area’s resources by its guests, residents, employees and visitors, so that the pertinent decisions can be made for the adequate and sustainable management of this new destination, which he said is called to be a reference in the region.

Caring for Bahía de las Águilas

Similarly, Freund indicated that considering that the tourist development of Cabo Rojo-Pedernales will generate greater visitation to Bahía de las Águilas, a Study of Tourist Capacity of the Public Use Zone of Bahía de las Águilas was carried out to evaluate and assess in a responsible manner the impact that could be caused by the increase in visitors, in order to consider the pertinent measures and manage this resource in a sustainable manner.

He added that the initiative of these studies highlights the magnitude of development in a tourist destination such as Cabo Rojo-Pedernales, which makes it necessary to control its management in order to achieve efficient and sustainable management.

These studies, conducted by the consulting firm Russa García & Asociados in charge of MSC. Lourdes Russa, were delivered at a meeting scheduled at the headquarters of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. Also in attendance were the Vice-Minister of International Cooperation for the Environment, Juan Eduardo Julia and the Vice-Minister of Tourism for International Cooperation, Carlos Peguero.

Technical details of the study

The tourist carrying capacity establishes the biophysical limit that a natural environment can support according to an expected tourist development, without being a threat to the integrity of the ecosystems.

The calculation of the tourist carrying capacity is based on a complex and integral process where a series of elements are taken into consideration: ecological, physical, social, economic, legal and cultural, whose analysis, when interrelated, provides valuable and necessary information to manage tourist destinations under a systemic perspective, especially in the case of potential and emerging destinations.

In these studies, not only were tourism carrying capacity calculations made as quantitative aspects, but also qualitative aspects were evaluated following methodologies applied in protected areas in the United States.

The activities proposed in the Cabo Rojo-Pedernales Tourism Development Plan were classified and characterized by phases, uses and sub-uses, as well as considering the environmental and social variables that interfere with the project, including aspects such as potable water and energy consumption, generation of solid waste and liquid effluents, employment, housing, education and specialized training.

The study identified the sensitive environmental areas of the area, taking into account the presence of: Permanent natural wetlands, Temporary natural wetlands; Red Mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), Black Mangrove (Avicennia germinans), Button Mangrove (Conocarpus erectus), Mixed dense forest of flora species; Cabo Rojo Guanito (Coccothrinax ekmanii), Better preserved cactus forests; Rhinoceros iguana (Cyclura cornuta) nesting burrows; sea turtle nesting sites, dead coral storm terraces, seagrass meadows, coral reefs, dunes and cenote sites.

This type of technical studies are key to provide the critical path for the sustainable development of a tourist destination such as Cabo Rojo-Pedernales.

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