Sea turtles slow Sol Meliá on Riviera Maya
Mexico City, Mexico
Sol Meliá, the world’s 14th-largest hotel chain, can claim some solid environmental marks. It initiated a “Going Green” campaign in 1996, providing an ecology manual for its 245 establishments in 25 countries, and won the Dominican Republic’s “Ecological Hotel of the Year” award in 1997.
But even before the Spanish company could begin building its latest development in Mexico—a 450-room luxury resort at Xcacel, about 75 miles (125 kms) south of Cancún in the state of Quintana Roo—it became the target of environmental protests.
Environmental groups here and abroad say the proposed resort would threaten the most important nesting grounds of two of the seven species of protected sea turtles found in Mexico—loggerheads and Atlantic greens.
“Get out, Sol Meliá, murderous hotel,” read a giant banner Greenpeace activists hung on the company’s office building in Mexico City in December, part of a month-long series of protests against the development.
Greenpeace and other organizations filed administrative complaints alleging the developers illegally cut down 100-year-old palm trees and destroyed a 15-year-old sea turtle study camp when they fenced off their property.