Through our Wave of Change movement, we are using the reopening of our hotel Iberostar Maya to continue our work on science-based targets for reef restoration to achieve the ambitious goal that all ecosystems that surround our properties improve in ecological health alongside profitable tourism by 2030. We are performing this important research in the Riviera Maya alongside CINVESTAV with the hopes of preparing reefs of the region for expected damage from disease, nutrient pollution and Climate Change.
The importance of the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) cannot be understated. Its threats require bold actions for scalable coral reef restoration. Marine ecosystems are collapsing due to various factors including overfishing, global warming and urban pollution. Coral reefs have been no exception and the biodiversity of these ecosystems is threatened by both natural and human disturbances. Additionally, since 2014, the spread of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) has caused the MAR to lose 40% of its remaining cover in only 2 years. It highlights the increasing need for the private sector to work alongside local partners and government to accelerate action, protection, and restoration for these critical ecosystems.
With nearly 80% of our hotels along the coastline, we have a strong commitment to holistic ocean protection. It started in 2017 in the Dominican Republic with a coral nursery in the marine sanctuary in front of our Hacienda Dominicus hotel and construction of a state-of-the-art coral research facility in our Bavaro complex. Now, we are working to complement the work by colleagues in the Riviera Maya by expanding our program focused on in-water restoration for increased coastal protection. We are working alongside CINVESTAV in its broader project to promote restoration of Mexican Caribbean reef fish assemblages through the application of novel techniques as well as the restoration of corals to increase their biodiversity.
Tourism is at a critical moment and as it comes back, we must build back better. Our nursery will serve as a space to increase the diversity of species across different locations in the Caribbean, analyze temperature changes in the coral community and monitor coral growth over time.
Check out a behind the scenes look from our Science Coordinator, Dr. Johanna Calle, on how we mix scientific research and tourism, her journey from academia to Iberostar and her hopeful take on solutions for protecting and restoring our coral reefs.
In the coming weeks, we will debut the second installment of our “Riding the Wave” series with conversations around the resilience of the ocean!