“Here was my business,” said Julio Rodriguez standing in the sand. At the point that marked his feet was a local wood in which since the 90’s offered packages of excursions to tourists. In 2006, he looked at the turquoise water of the Arena Gorda beach 25 meters away from his post. I enjoyed watching the foreigners walk by the front of the artisan market where they operated. A few years ago he realized that the sea was approaching continuously until the waves hit the foundations of his business and they gave way. At 60, he watched worriedly as others of the 63 locals in the square faced the same threat.
That summer morning in 2017, Julio said he has heard different explanations of why the sea penetrated more than 20 meters to that point on the beach. He cited global warming and the destruction of corals. “The same nature and oneself,” he added. “You know that one contributes; people who have no knowledge of the damage done to this often cause damage, consciously or unconsciously. ”
Julio summarized in this way what happens on the coasts of Punta Cana , a tourist destination in the Dominican Republic , of worldwide recognition, which increased by more than 21,000 the number of hotel rooms since 2001, but that is losing meters of beach by a erosive process that is attributed to climate change and constructions raised without respect for the environment.
This represents a threat to the tourism industry, which is a support for the local economy, and has been defined by the Minister of Tourism, Francisco Javier García , as “the goose that lays the golden eggs.” Only the hotel, bar and restaurant sector represented 7.9% of the Dominican Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017.