US investment in the Mexican southeast

Fonatur, a Frankenstein

Fonatur became the great area of ​​tourist developments as successful as Cancun is, and today it is a Frankenstein that is not understood.

As part of Banxico at the end of the 1960s under the tutelage of Ernesto Fernández Hurtado, it was the great section that would pass into the hands of the Ministry of Tourism, then under the tutelage of Antonio Enríquez Savignac and later to be independent as the National Development Fund. to Tourism.

Large fully planned centers that not only brought wealth to the country but to those destinations that appeared on the map as just a beach. Places that both the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank bet on.

Today, in the middle of 2022, when the mechanics, strength and weaknesses of this trust under the tutelage of Safin are known, instead of reinforcing and resuming its origins so that, finally, tourism is the pillar of the economy, it simply it limits to leaving it as a strange entity that no longer operates anything related to tourist developments.

Many will say that he is in command of the Mayan Train. My answer is that it is neither attending to its reason for being nor is it on the right track, but it is not on the way to disappearing either, although it is a trust far from being what it once was.

Let’s go by parts. Fonatur is a trust of Safin, headed by Luis Antonio Ramírez, but created by the Federal Tourism Law, hence, to disappear, if that were the intention, Congress would have to do it in a very complicated process because it would imply the liquidation of its assets and liabilities, which, today, are considerable because it is not only about Fonatur, but also about its subsidiaries.

However, Fonatur is far from fulfilling its function of birth, and the dust inside is more than high. It has a structural problem, its three subsidiaries created as public limited companies: the construction company, the operator and the port operator, which had very defined activities, change their structure and name.

Now they are called Fonatur, Infrastructure Builder and Tren Maya. The first two work for the same thing, and the third only has one line that says it can operate a train.

However, Fonatur only operates to develop the Mayan Train, which initially would cost 65 billion pesos, but currently it is 72 billion. Of 203 billion pesos in which said work is valued today.

As if that were not enough, last year, at the end of December, Fonatur created a new subsidiary called Fonatur Solar. Although this does not appear in the manual, it is a reality and the objective of this subsidiary, for Rogelio Jiménez Pons, was to manage solar panel farms to move the railway.

The product of that electricity was going to be for social works, not to give for giving, as is done with social programs, said the then director of Fonatur, “but to teach them to fish.”

Reason for which, it is said, caused his departure, by taking himself as a challenge and criticizing the social programs of the current administration.

However, clean energy farms should be operated by the CFE, led by Manuel Bartlett, who has been characterized as anti-clean energy. In addition to the fact that these resources could not have been and will not be labeled as for social use.

In short, it seems that Fonatur today has neither head nor tail. Meanwhile, the regional tourism secretariats are disappearing. Or how to explain that in Edomex there is no secretariat and there is only one area of ​​tourism subject to the Ministry of Culture. Thus, what could be one of the two main sources of foreign exchange and which today is left behind, tourism.


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Co-founding partner, and host of the radio program Salud, Dinero y amor. Finance, business, economics, and wellness program.

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