After the MAR Network was conformed, funds were directed towards the building of the local Destination Management Organizations (DMOS), which are multi sectorial, community-based organizations to help design with a bottom-up perspective their local sustainability agenda, tailoring the 4 Regions priorities into their plans.
Covid-19 slowed down action in some of the destinations, as priorities in most countries were focused on the contention of the pandemic. Thus, each destination has different levels of progress in the creation of their DMOs. The common challenge is to integrate the different sectors and levels of government into a common vision for the destinations, that hold sustainable development at the heart of planning.
Cozumel is the most advanced destination in regards to the establishment of their DMO and a long-term strategy to
achieve the Destination´s sustainability goals
During 2020 and 2021 Cozumel has been working on legally establishing the local DMO, integrated by representatives of the private, social, environmental sectors and the three levels of government. The destination has achieved three main milestones during 2021 and March 2021:
Legal conformation of the DMO as a non-governmental organization that integrates the social, environmental and private sectors and the three levels of government.
Participatory design of the Agenda 2030 for a sustainable island and the Sustainable Economic Recovery Plan, which include a detailed overview of projects based on regenerative economy principles, natural capital and climate change topics.
The following steps were carried out on 2020 and the first months of 2021:
1. Conforming DMO Structure
2. Formation of the Council Board and
hiring of Executive Director
3. Overview of transition strategy (problem - solution) based on research studies, policies and initiatives related to sustainable development that had been carried out in the destination
Identification of the main problems related to each of the GSTC- Criteria and adding a 5th criteria ¨island infrastructure¨
Proposal of a general strategy for systemic change: the transition towards a regenerative economy
4. Participatory building of the Isla Cozumel
Sustainable Destination Agenda 2030
The Agenda 2030 towards a Sustainable Island is based on the SDG 2030. The five pillars of the Agenda 2030 are the decision-making criteria / indicators for the design of the Sustainable Economic Recovery Plan. The final result was the design of four regenerative-based projects with a business perspective. The DMO Cozumel is currently in the phase of fundraising to implement the Recovery Plan.
Agenda 2030 is composed of 5 main pillars and 34 sub pillars that guide the decision-making process for the design and implementation of
key transition projects
Based on the pillars and sub pillars of the Agenda 2030
4 key projects were proposed:
(2) new sustainable and regenerative tourism products based on micro entrepreneurship;
(1) a project for existing operations, with focus on water and sanitation, renewable energy, waste management and sustainable value chains ;
and (1) project based on waste management at the destination level.
Meetings have been held to advance in the creation of the DMO; however they have been put on hold due to COVID-19 and the need of local institutions to focus their efforts and resources on activities related to the pandemic.
The Roatan DMO was the first one to be established. It created a path for upcoming DMOs in the region and has reported great advances in the implementation of recommendations of its 2019 GSTC Assessment. It is currently finalizing its legal registration and convening its 2021 Executive Board meeting.