The Mexican region of Quintana Roo anticipates economic boom through tourism.
The Mexican government plans to leverage its archaeologically-rich sites to help stimulate economic growth. This, they hope, will help increase tourism and create jobs. The first site planned to receive the 11 million pesos (approximately $505,000) investment is Ichkabal in Quintana Roo. The government anticipates that the site will see millions of tourist flock to the area in 2017-2018.
Ichkabal, with its 130-foot tall structures, is older than Calakmul in Campeche, and bigger than Chichén Itzá in Yucatán. The site, which is in the southern region of Quintana Roo, was first discovered in 1995. The site is earmarked to become a great environmental conservation project. Even though it was discovered back in 1995, the first archaeological explorations weren’t conducted until 2009. The excitement around the proposed investment caused The National Institute of Anthropology and History to issue a statement of all that the site had to offer.
The site encompasses approximately 9 to 11 square miles and was first excavated during 2011. Then, due to a lack of funds, it was not further explored. The death of leading archaeologist Enrique Nalda contributed to the delays. During 2013, exploration of the area began again to build on Nalda’s work. Since its discovery in 1995, the site has played an important role in documenting Mayan history. There has been slow progress in the exploration of the area with Nalda’s team on the site since 2003, but there is hope that with additional funding beyond the present 20 percent of the total needed, exploration will pick up.
The area, which is 50 miles from Chetumal, is a wealth of natural resources and forestry. Ichkabal is considered to have been an important political center during the Pre-Mayan Area. The Department for Tourism is optimistic as well; it welcomed the government’s investment in the area as a major economic, social, and tourism boost. The site is said to have been important during the Mayan’s history, judging from the size of the large structures.
The renewed investment will help create more access to the ruins. This, in turn, will help the exploration of the ruins and to determine the historic role played by Ichkabal, Mexico News Daily reported.
The government will be upgrading the infrastructure to see that the area becomes a tourist destination. The area, which dates back to 300 BC, sees just over 100,000 tourist each year – a number which hopefully will increase by 20 percent per year from 2017.
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The investment in the area will create jobs for the southern region and should see roads upgraded, training for tourism initiated, and archaeological corridors opened.