Ixtapa-Zihuatanejos Office of Conventions and Visitors announces that El Palmar, a beautiful 1.6 mile beach wich spans the front of Ixtapas resorts and hotels, has won the distinction of being certified as a “Clean Beach”. El Palmar is the largest beach in Mexico and the first in the state of Guerrero to earn the certification. Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, as a region, has placed significant focus on both ecological and social responsibility in order to provide an environmentally-friendly tourist experience that is sustainable both for tourism and the activities relating to tourism.
To promote the effort nationwide, a collaboration was formed between the National Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (officially known, in Spanish as SEMARNAT: Secretara del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales), state and municipal governments, the private sector and local citizens to create the Clean Beaches Committee.
Mexico has nearly 2,200 miles of beach out of its 6,800 miles waterfront land. To achieve certification, the beach was evaluated on the following benchmarks: water quality, presence of solid wastes, coastal infrastructure, security, services, biodiversity and environmental education. Additional tests were required to ensure there were no foams present that aren’t naturally created by the tides.
The care and attention provided to the wildlife that are found at El Palmar Beach was an important criteria in determining eligibility as a Clean Beach. The wide breadth of wildlife that live at El Palmar includes herons, dolphins, green iguanas, pelicans, sea turtles, sea gulls and many other species. Assessing this benchmark provided a wonderful opportunity to appreciate the range and abundance of wild life that share the beach with the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo community.
The Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo Hotel Association’s continuous participation in obtaining the Clean Beaches Certification was an invaluable support in this effort for the VI National Clean Beaches Encounter 2010. Hotels and condominiums adjacent to El Palmar complied with all recommendations by carrying out clean-up projects and educational and environmental training programs, as well as other important contributions that were major factors in earning the Clean Beach certification.
El Palmar Beach hosts Ixtapa’s most renowned five-star and grand tourism hotels as well as five of the largest luxury condominiums, accounting for 1000 rooms. Hotels on El Palmar Beach offer 3900 rooms out of the total 5000 hotel rooms available in the tourist destination of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.” — Mr. Jorge Hidalgo, Manager of the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo Hotel Association
Assisting in obtaining the certification, the local Ecology, Tourism, Public Maintenance and Regulations departments worked with the local municipal government to acquire state-of-the-art technology for cleaning the beaches including a sand filtration system that uses a shifting-sweeping machine that penetrates up to 15 centimeters below the surface, leaving both a clean and aesthetically pleasing beach surface.
Another indispensable aspect that contributed to the successful Clean Beaches Certification are the ongoing cleaning and maintenance activities performed by FONATUR CIP Ixtapa. The successful waste water treatment practices and scientific research work that takes place on the beach and in surrounding areas also factored significantly in achieving certification.
As Mexico’s largest certified beach, El Palmar had to successfully pass evaluations at all of its three public access points as well as six sampling stations located in the areas with the highest influx of visitors. This traffic can reach as many as 25,000tourists during high season and holidays.
El Palmar stands for an experience of crystalline waters, soft and clean sands, and now, the work that has been done to comply with the highest standards of quality services, security and infrastructure.
The ongoing efforts to maintain Clean Beach standards includes informational signs, mooring buoys, water behavioral signage as well as a lifeguard certified program. No fires, camping or fishing is allowed, nor the removal of sand, seashells or stones. The loading of fuel on the beach or in the water is forbidden. Compliance by the public of these rules will ensure the continued safety and standards of El Palmar as a Clean Beach.