Adaptation to climate change in the tourism sector

Programme description

Title: Ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change with the private sector in Mexico
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI)
Country: Mexico
Partner organisations: Mexican Ministry of Tourism – SECTUR; Mexican Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources – SEMARNAT; Mexican National Commission of Natural Protected Areas – CONANP; Mexican National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change – INECC
Overall term: 2017 to 2021

Arroyo de las Cachinches2_SMDA_06022018


In 2016, more than 35 million international tourists travelled to Mexico, spending in excess of 17 billion US dollars. This corresponds to 8.7 percent of gross domestic product. More than four million people work in the tourism sector.

However, tourism is also affected by the effects of climate change. With the rise in temperature, some regions risk losing their status as attractive destinations. Coastal regions in particular are at great risk from rising sea levels, the degradation of their beaches and the threat of hurricanes. The diving industry needs coral reefs with their diverse flora and fauna. Many inland destinations are suffering from the loss of their ecosystems, declining biodiversity and a dwindling natural water supply.


In three pilot regions, business and wider society are developing and implementing joint solutions for adaptation to climate change in the Mexican tourism sector.


On behalf of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, GIZ is supporting the tourism sector in adapting to climate change. The aim is to reduce the business risks of tourism companies and protect their natural capital (such as beaches, reefs, rainforests, and biodiversity) and ecosystem services (water supply, protection against hurricanes, floods, landslides, etc.).

The ADAPTUR project works in three tourist destinations in Mexico: Riviera Nayarit-Jalisco (on the Mexican Pacific), San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato (in the Bajío region of Central Mexico) and Riviera Maya (in the Mexican Caribbean). These pilot regions were selected on the basis of economic, social and environmental criteria and the expected results. Safety also played a decisive role.

A technical advisor to the project is on site in each of the three pilot regions. The advisors coordinate ADAPTUR's activities and support local stakeholders in technical matters. This includes information events, dialogues between the public and private sectors, technical training for a total of 300 people (e.g. economic assessment of climate risks), planning climate adaptation measures with the participation of all relevant stakeholders and support in developing project proposals. The project also promotes access to international expertise (studies, concepts or methodologies) and exchange with other projects in Latin America.

Implementation of the project is based on the principle of public-private cooperation. This includes ensuring that all stakeholders in the tourism sector (e.g. companies, entrepreneurs, associations or foundations) and wider society (including civil society organisations, communities, and academia) participate in the development of solutions and joint measures.

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