Plans are in place for development in Cancun

ACAPULCO, Mexico -- Fonatur, the Mexican government organization in charge of tourism investment and development, outlined its plans for Cancun.

Fonatur said it intends to develop Puerto Cancun, which is located at the western end of Cancun's existing tourist area.

The project will include a 330-slip marina, an 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf, a residential area, a boardwalk and commercial zone and hotels with up to 4,288 rooms.

Preliminary land and water studies on Puerto Cancun began in December, according to Michael Kelly, who is president and CEO of Puerto Cancun.

Kelly said Puerto Cancun will be open within four years and will take 10 years to fully complete.

The development is expected to cost $127 million over the next four years and $1 billion over the next decade, according to Kelly.

"Puerto Cancun has a strategic importance because it will revitalize the most important tourist destination in Mexico," Kelly said. "With a full-scale marina, we want to reach the more than 35,000 yacht, mega-yacht and sailboat owners who live on the U.S. East Coast and along the Gulf of Mexico. Currently, this market prefers other Caribbean destinations because they do not find the necessary nautical infrastructure along the Mexican Caribbean."

Another development, Costa Cancun, located near the Club Med resort, will include a 36-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus as well as a clubhouse, a beach area and residences.

Closer to downtown, Fonatur envisions Malecon Cancun, a boardwalk-type development that will include commercial and residential areas.

Near Dolphin Beach and the Hilton property, Fonatur has designated a zone called La Herradura, a development that will incorporate the public beach with hotels and condominiums. A new marina will also be constructed.

On a smaller scale, Fonatur also proposes a new marina in Cozumel, which would be flanked by commercial development as well as hotels, residential sites and other attractions.

Meanwhile, Cozumel officials reported an increase in air passenger arrivals for the start of the year. Air arrivals were up more than 22% in January compared with January 2003 and up by more than 28% in February compared with the same month last year.

To contact the reporter who wrote this story, send e-mail to [email protected] .

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI