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The “S” distinctive is a recognition of good sustainable practices in the development of tourism projects and the commitments of tourism companies operating in Mexico, under global sustainability criteria. It seeks to strengthen the performance of companies with the incorporation of two easy-to-use tools: a diagnosis, as well as a measurement system for energy, water, waste and carbon for more than 25 sectors in the tourism industry. Its objective is to generate the sustainable development of tourist activity and improve conditions in tourist destinations in Mexico.

The Distintivo S endorses the certifications issued by EarthCheck and Rainforest Alliance, internationally recognized companies that promote the best sustainable practices, aligned with global sustainability criteria, which are promoted by the World Tourism Organization and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). for its acronym in English).

The “S” Mark helps companies and communities reduce risk at all levels by applying our understanding of the natural world and how it connects in practical ways to business. Companies will be able to generate tangible economic, environmental and social benefits, through a sustainable business model that provides the support to build the long-term success of their company.

In 2014, the Integrally Planned Center (CIP) of Bahías de Huatulco, Oaxaca, became the first and only tourist destination in Mexico to receive, for the second consecutive year, the “S” Distinction awarded by the Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR) , which accredits the guarantee of its sustainability.


In recent years, the Government of Mexico, aware of the natural wealth that the country possesses and of the need to protect it, has implemented important environmental care programs through the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, including which is the "Clean Beach" certification that allows beach destinations to verify their cleanliness and care of their visitors.

Huatulco has two beaches certified by the Mexican standard NMX-120-SCFI-2006 SEMARNAT: PLAYA CHAHUÉ in the recreational use modality and PLAYA EL ÓRGANO in the conservation modality as they form part of the polygonal protected natural area, Huatulco National Park.

Playa Chahué obtained, and maintains, its certification due to the excellent conservation and safety conditions, and for representing a place worthy of recreational use, always complying with the plans for the conservation of biodiversity, environmental education, and beach waste management.

In addition to the excellent quality of its waters, the beach has an excellent security and surveillance program, preserving an exemplary clean beach, as well as its seabed.

As for El Órgano's distinction as a Sustainable Clean Beach, it is the first obtained by a beach in the entire country and is based on 15 criteria stipulated by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), in which conditions are privileged. specific environmental and health

Among the most important are reforestation actions, protected species, water quality, being within a Ramsar site and in a Natural Protected Area, as in this case is the Huatulco National Park.

For the certification of Sustainable Clean Beaches, monitoring, supervision, and coordination are carried out to follow up on the corrective activities that lead to achieving the certification. Every year three certification audits are carried out and whether to maintain ourselves at the national level as a nature-friendly tourist destination and generate a unique experience for tourists.


For the coastal environment, water quality, safety and access for all: the Blue Flag represents a serious and deep commitment to people and the environment.

Blue Flag is an international distinction that is awarded to beaches and marinas, whose main objective is to reward those coastal destinations that have achieved "excellence" in environmental management and management, safety and servic es, application of environmental education activities and quality of water.

The mission of the beach label is to promote the sustainable development of coastal environments, through the requirement of high criteria in water quality, environmental management and education for sustainability. To achieve this, Blue Flag works by building collaboration scenarios between authorities, users, civil society organizations and tourism service providers, which has allowed it to become a universally known environmental label and award; valued by tourists and; by the most important tour operators in the world.

The beaches with the badge certify compliance with 33 criteria included in four categories:

• Information and environmental education

• Water quality

• Environmental management

• Security and Service

Huatulco obtains this certification on July 12, 2013 in Playa Chahué, and its guiding axes are: environmental education and information, water quality, environmental management, security and services.


On October 26, 2006, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) internationally designated the municipality of Santa María Huatulco and the Huatulco National Park as a Huatulco Biosphere Reserve, which is incorporated into the Network of Biosphere Reserves of the Man and Biosphere Program (MaB) of UNESCO.

The MaB program (Man and the Biosphere) seeks to avoid the loss of biodiversity in all its manifestations in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves: ecological (species, populations, communities and ecosystems) and cultural (uses and customs of populations in harmony with nature). Both biological diversity and cultural diversity are central components of the ecosystem approach proposed by the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves of the MAB program is a way of involving people in the conservation of biodiversity. The Biosphere Reserves offer these models.

Biosphere reserves are much more than protected areas, they represent a means to promote management, essentially as an ongoing pact between the local community and society in general. The Huatulco Biosphere Reserve is managed by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas through the Huatulco National Park.


On November 27, 2003, the Convention on Wetlands or Ramsar Convention, internationally designated a large part of the municipality of Santa María Huatulco (41,323 terrestrial ha and 3,077 marine ha for a total of 44,400 Ha) as Ramsar Site 1321: "Cuencas y Corales of the Coastal Zone of Huatulco", wetland of international importance, mainly due to the presence of low deciduous forest or dry forest and the ecological dynamics that it shares with the temporary and permanent wetlands that are present, such as streams, rivers, lagoons, mangroves, coral reefs, medium flooded forest and other plant communities; these ecosystems are generally source sites and present high fragility, vulnerability and great species richness.

The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar City, Iran, on February 2, 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty that serves as a framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands, whose objective is "The Conservation and rational use of all wetlands, through local, regional, national and international actions that contribute to the achievement of sustainable development throughout the world".


Huatulco, Fonatur's Integrally Planned Center (CIP), became the first tourist community in the American continent and the third in the world to achieve Green Globe environmental certification.

This World Certification Program recognizes the commitment to operate in the highest environmental standards in the world, since it is a global system that helps the international travel and tourism industry to achieve sustainability. “Green Globe provides a certification system that responds directly to the main environmental problems facing the planet, including the greenhouse effect, the abuse of water resources, the destruction of biodiversity, the production of solid and biological waste, as well as the issues social.

EarthCheck Certification (formerly Green Globe) is the environmental management system created as an evaluation and certification methodology for the tourism industry and predetermined tourist areas.

The EarthCheck Community Program has helped Huatulco increase awareness of the environment and the preservation of natural resources. This has helped guide tourism growth by reducing the negative impacts of the industry on the area's biodiversity. The full participation and commitment of both private and governmental organizations is encouraged throughout the three levels of Government, namely: Municipal, State and Federal.

This community has positioned itself as a sustainable community and tourism destination, receiving benefits on both the national and international fronts. The community believes that tourism is a national economic priority, but it must go hand in hand with the conservation of the environment and the improvement of the quality of life of the local community. To achieve this goal, training and collection programs for children and adults are held on the first Saturday of each month. In them, attendees learn about the basic principles of recycling and reuse of materials and objects previously considered waste.

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