Ciudad de Campeche — Another meeting between government officials from five states will get down to brass tacks on the Maya Train issue.
The meeting, which follows an initial gathering in Palenque, will take place in Campeche’s capital. It was not clear if President-elect Andrés López Obrador will preside.
The project will be put to bid on Dec 1, the day the new president takes power. The trail will connect the hugely successful tourist resort Cancun with the Yucatán Peninsula’s less-traveled points, particularly archaeological zones.
A budget of 150 billion pesos has been attached to the Maya Train, with an invitation to foreign investors. Freight service will also help support the project.
Jorge Manos Esparragoza, the Campeche Secretary of Tourism, said the train has sparked both national and international interest.
Between the five states, 18 million tourists arrive annually. But they mainly stay in Cancun, the country’s most popular destination by far.
Sticking points include the environment. Manos Esparragoza said at a press conference that there was a meeting in recent days with officials who will take the reins of the National Tourism Fund (Fonatur) regarding how the project will impact the land, air and water, while pointing out that places such as Calakmul, a protected natural area, could not be impacted.
“That’s why they see the rush with meetings; there are already work teams in each state, experts in the field, because what we want is to do things well, we do not want to impact or affect any protected area, much less an archaeological site,” Manos Esparragoza said.
He said that the members of Campeche Gov. Alejandro Moreno Cárdenas’s cabinet are very clear that the environment should be taken care of and commented that on the dialogue with communities, it is an issue that concerns the governor’s office.
“It is a project that has to be put together among the five states of the Mayan World, there is time, this is going to take three years, you have to set up stations, and always be able to support the artisans and the people,” said Manos Esparragoza.
“It is a great opportunity for the South-Southeast. We had never before, at the beginning of a federal administration, had such an important investment,” added the state Secretary of Tourism, who pointed out that it is very risky to say at this moment what the final number of train stations will be. In the case of Campeche, the municipality of Candelaria would be included.
Finally, Esparragoza stressed that experts of national and international prestige are reviewing the possible route of the project, to avoid impacting or affecting the protected natural areas.
“It is necessary to iron out the whole project well so that once the tenders start in December, no one is going to protest or stop this investment. I think it is a great opportunity for the Campechanos and thus connect with the No. 1 tourist destination in the country, through a train, as Europeans travel, and that will help a lot to attract that flow of tourists,” he concluded.
Source: Punto Medio