Climate Proof Investment Guide for a sustainable and resilient tourism

Climate Proof Investment Guide for a sustainable and resilient tourism

Transforming Vision Into Action - Guidelines and Tools

28 June 2021


Images of devastating fires of thousands of kilometres in Australia, tidal waves and floods in Venice not recorded for half a century, the arrival of “Day Zero” in Cape Town due to water shortages, the loss of beach and infrastructure in the Mexican Caribbean due to the passage of a hurricane, these are episodes that remind us again and again of the vulnerability of the tourism industry in the world.

Damage to tourist infrastructure due to the passage of Hurricane Kenna in Riviera Nayarit-Jalisco.Damage to tourist infrastructure due to the passage of Hurricane Kenna in Riviera Nayarit-Jalisco.

We stumble from one emergency to another, such as the current health and economic crisis of COVID-19, which took everyone by surprise and has led businesses and governments to rethink the tourism model. However, at the same time we face other urgent challenges such as the climate crisis. It is clear that we cannot merely react, but rather anticipate by gearing the business towards a future with a more extreme climate. In other words, we have to invest in green infrastructure and projects with environmental and social benefits that address climate change, such as ecosystem-based adaptation solutions.

With this vision, the ADAPTUR project, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Mexico, has recently published the Climate Proof Investment Guide for a sustainable and resilient tourism, which for the first time offers recommendations and tools to incorporate climate risks and adaptation solutions in the planning and design process of projects in Mexico (selection of the property, master plan, environmental impact studies, architectural design, among others). Although this document is aimed at investment companies, developers and consultants in the tourism and real estate sector of the country, the Rapid Climate Risk Self-Assessment tool and the Operational Planning recommendations can be used in any type of tourism investment in the world.

In Mexico, the Guide has been implemented with eleven leading companies in tourism investment projects, and thanks to this, they have managed to identify the risks of climate change in the areas of infrastructure, operation, social environment, regulations, finance and market, as well as to identify specific adaptation solutions for their businesses and opportunities to ensure their implementation.

Rocío Moreno, sustainability director of Grupo Lomas, a tourism corporation based in Cancun, Mexico, commented: “This document has the ability to define the purpose of the projects and showed us that we could have solutions and improvements while still in our final planning stage.”

To cite a couple of outstanding experiences, a hotel group with a presence in Mexico and Jamaica has incorporated climate change adaptation into the business policy of its main resort in the Riviera Maya and initiated concrete actions for the rehabilitation of coral reefs and dunes; and another investment company of a mixed development (with five hotels and 400 luxury residences) about to be built in the Riviera Nayarit, has substituted endemic negation instead of concrete terraces in its architectural design to reinforce hillsides and reduce the risk of landslides.

Ejemplo de análisis de un proyecto turístico inmobiliario usando la herramienta de Autodiagnóstico Rápido de Riesgos Climáticos.

By way of reflection, addressing the climate crisis will be one of the issues that new international travel trends will force us to consider, linked to changes in the market, transport and the demand for destinations with healthy and natural spaces. For tourism businesses, it will be more costly not to act. However, this approach offers a new opportunity to join One Planet's vision for the transformation of tourism, which aims at the responsible post-COVID-19 recovery of the tourism sector.

The ADAPTUR project (Ecosystem-Based Adaptation to Climate Change in the Tourism Sector in Mexico) has developed training workshops and technical documents to incorporate the climate change and adaptation approach into decision-making in the sector, including the aforementioned Guide. At the same time, it has provided technical advice and promoted cooperation between key actors from the public and private sectors for the implementation of solutions based on ecosystems with the support of civil society organizations, notably, the restoration of forests and soil for the recovery of the aquifer, reduce the risk of droughts and ensure water in the future for San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, as well as the restoration of dune vegetation for the coastal protection of properties and the community in Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo.

  Link to download the guide


This article for the initiative to transform the vision of One Planet into concrete actions has been presented by the ADAPTUR project, which is funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) of the Federal Republic of Germany through the International Climate Initiative (IKI) and is implemented by the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR), the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) , the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC) and the National Commission for Protected Natural Areas (CONANP). For more information visit: ADAPTUR