ADAPTUR: Mainstreaming Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) in the tourism sector as a strategy for NDC implementation in Mexico

Published: 08 December 2021
Last edited: 08 December 2021
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The main components of the project Ecosystem-based Adaption to climate change in the tourism sector (ADAPTUR) are: economic risk analysis, communication strategy, strengthen public and private sector cooperation, capacity building, planning and implementation of EbA solutions with the participation of all relevant stakeholders (handmade dams and forest restoration to reduce vulnerability to droughts), mobilizing finance from public and private sector, as well as policy development on the national and regional level.


ADAPTUR is financed by the German Ministry of Environment (BMU) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in cooperation with the Mexican Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR), the Mexican Ministry of Environment (SEMARNAT), the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) and the Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC). The project was implemented in three leading Mexican tourism destinations.


Central America
Scale of implementation
Area-wide development
Buildings and facilities
Coastal forest
Coral reef
Desert ecosystems
Forest ecosystems
Freshwater ecosystems
Hot desert
Marine and coastal ecosystems
River, stream
Tropical deciduous forest
Tropical evergreen forest
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Cities and infrastructure
Ecosystem services
Legal & policy frameworks
Local actors
Sustainable financing
Urban planning
World Heritage
Increasing temperatures
Land and Forest degradation
Ocean warming and acidification
Sea level rise
Tropical cyclones / Typhoons
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Ecosystem loss
Infrastructure development
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Sustainable development goals
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 14 – Life below water
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Sendai Framework
Target 3: Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to GDP by 2030
Target 7: Increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with a company
Direct engagement with associations


Mexico | All the country, with emphasis in three tourist destinations: San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato State, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit in the pacific ocean, and Riviera Maya in the mexican caribbean.
San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico


The tourism sector in Mexico is strongly affected by climate change. With sea levels rising, coastal destinations run the risk of losing their beaches and thus one of their main tourism attractions. They also suffer from more severe hurricanes and flooding, which is not only bad for business, but has started to impact local real estate value. Coral reefs are suffering from rising temperature, which poses pressure on their diverse flora and fauna and the local diving industry. Inland destinations on the other hand, are suffering from droughts and a decline in water supply, which impacts local economies and leads to social conflicts.


Beneficiaries of ADAPTUR include partners from public authorities of the tourism and environmental sector on national and subnational levels, the private tourism industry, civil society organizations and local communities of the three selected destinations.

How do the building blocks interact?


The first step was to better understand the situation, attitude, and capacities of the main target audience: the private sector. For that, we conducted a KAP analysis which delivered input for our communication and capacity building strategy (Block 2). At the same time, we conducted an economic risk assessment to quantify the costs of climate change for our tourism destinations and to put a price-tag on climate change (Block 1). Once we had the private sector's attention, the next step was to strengthen cooperation structures through creating trust between public and private actors (Block 3). During this period, a communication strategy was executed to raise public awareness of climate change risks, meanwhile a capacity building strategy with focus on the development of policies and EbA solutions was implemented (Block 2).


On the national and subnational levels, we supported the development of new tourism policies which included climate change and EbA criteria (Block 4). All of the above led to the planning and implementation of EbA measures, which were funded by the public and private sectors and implemented by civil society organizations and local communities (Block 5).


  • Awareness raising among industry leaders and decision makers in the tourism sector through a target group specific information and communication campaign (e.g. the publication of several articles about climate change impacts in local/regional media.
  • Development plans, policies and regulations at both national and local levels include EbA and climate change approaches and are related to NDC implementation in Mexico (e.g. the Climate Plan of Puerto Vallarta incorporates EbA solutions like forest restoration to reduce vulnerability to flooding and landslides).
  • Leading Mexican investors have integrated climate risks and ecosystem-based solutions into the planning process of their current tourism projects with the objective to make their investments more “climate-proof”.
  • Implementation of several EbA solutions with contributions from the public and private sectors, which are implemented by NGOs and in cooperation with local communities. Those solutions brought environmental, social, and economic benefits, like improved water supply, restoration of habitat for wildlife, and temporary jobs for communities during the economic crisis of Covid-19.


GIZ-ADAPTUR/Mariana Rodriguez

Extraordinary mountain range and bay


Carrying out business in a region such as the Riviera Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta implies recognizing that we depend on the mountains and the bay beyond the geopolitical territory.


In the Puerto Vallarta and Bahía de Banderas Business Association (AEBBA), for years, we have recognized that caring for nature is an essential part of social responsibility. Still, when we began to collaborate with the ADAPTUR project, we realized that the issue went further.  We understood that considering the adverse effects of climate change, maintaining a good balance with nature and its ecosystems is not only a matter of competitiveness between tourist destinations but a matter of business survival.


We signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ADAPTUR and participated in preparing the Municipal Climate Change Program of Puerto Vallarta. Hand in hand with experts, we were able to identify vulnerabilities and propose proposals to reduce risk at the destination.


Within the AEBBA, we created a Green Agenda Commission, headed by Captain Enrique Tron, to promote these issues among the members of our organization.  As part of the activities, we collaborate with our data to prepare studies that help us understand the economic risk in tourist destinations due to climate change.


Similarly, this collaboration allowed us to promote the development of capacities among AEBBA partners on adaptation to climate change issues through workshops, conferences, meetings, videos, and other informational elements.


But it was not only information, we also accessed and distributed among our partners, relevant tools such as the "Climate Proof Investment Guide," which was even piloted by some of our members.


We are currently part of the Alianza Montaña-Bahía initiative, an important alliance with civil, academic, and government organizations. For the first time in the region, we have a portfolio of climate change adaptation projects with financial plans, the implementation of which would reduce the vulnerability that the marvelous mountains and the beautiful Bahía de Banderas currently have and their lively ecosystems.


Dr. Jorge Alberto Villanueva Hernández

President of the Asociación de Empresarios de Puerto Vallarta y Bahía de Banderas  (AEBBA) A.C., Mexico

Contributed by

daniela.valera_40817's picture

Daniela Valera Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Other contributors

Secretaría de Turismo (SECTUR)
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT)