Opinion: Progress tempered with challenges

Carlos Mota
yucatan semana santa
With more investment, Progreso could benefit more from crowds that flock to its beaches. Photo: Sipse

When El Financiero columnist Carlos Mota vacationed in Yucatán after a six-year absence, he naturally looked at the region from a business angle rather than as a tourist.

“Yucatán is one of those areas where opportunities are opening,” he writes. “However, the state is slightly overwhelmed and seems unprepared for what has happened.”

Carlos Mota
Carlos Mota

Mota gave the recent holiday in Progreso as an example. The beaches of the port city were packed with tens of thousands of people, and on Easter Sunday, 140,000 crammed every centimeter of sand. Mérida’s zoos and historic center was also packed with tourists.

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From Mexico City to Cuernavaca, 3,600 cars were counted every hour on Holy Thursday, as travelers ventured out for a long weekend. He compared Sunday traffic from Mérida to Progreso: 5,760 cars per hour clogged the highway.

But Progreso needs dozens more restaurants with acceptable quality standards, has almost no hotels, and tourist services are limited to old houses converted into public showers with dressing rooms.

Talking to people of Yucatan, in all segments, Mota sensed a common perception that the state vibrates with investments but its labor force lives in notorious poverty. The good news is that it has broken the shell of eight or 10 oligarchies that controlled several industrial sectors for decades. Today a more meritocratic economy flourishes, he said.

Mota urged more global corporations shift operations to Yucatán, where investors will find “a vibrant market, eager to show the world.”

A Mexican journalist born in 1971, Mota specializes in business, economics and finance. He earned a Bachelors in Business Administration from the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM) and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Maryland.

In 2011, Mota was named Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

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