Huatulco’s Economy and Industries Overview

Did you know that tourism accounts for a whopping 90% of the direct and indirect economic activity in Huatulco, Mexico? Nestled within the Municipality of Santa María Huatulco in the state of Oaxaca, Huatulco is a coastal paradise that has emerged as a thriving tourist destination.

With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and captivating biodiversity, it’s no wonder that Huatulco attracts droves of visitors every year. But beyond its stunning natural beauty, Huatulco’s economy offers a vibrant and diverse landscape of industries and development opportunities.

Key Takeaways:

  • Huatulco’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism, contributing to 90% of the direct and indirect economic activity in the region.
  • The coastal area of Huatulco is a popular tourist destination, offering breathtaking beaches and rich biodiversity.
  • Huatulco presents a vast potential for economic growth and development, with various industries shaping its business landscape.
  • However, challenges exist in balancing tourism development with the preservation of local communities and the environment.
  • Exploring Huatulco’s potential requires strategic planning and initiatives that address social, economic, and environmental concerns.

Governance in Huatulco

In the Municipality of Santa María Huatulco, we are committed to providing efficient and effective public services to our residents and visitors. Our goal is to ensure the well-being and satisfaction of everyone in our community. As the governing body, we oversee various essential services, including water, sewage, roads, public safety, and public transport.

Our dedicated team works tirelessly to maintain and improve these services, ensuring the highest standards of quality and reliability. We understand the importance of reliable infrastructure and the impact it has on the daily lives of our residents and the experience of our visitors.

“We strive to create a welcoming and safe environment for all, making Huatulco a desirable place to live, work, and visit.” – Municipality of Santa María Huatulco

In the 1980s, the Federal Government’s tourism development agency, FONATUR, expropriated a coastal zone in Huatulco for the purpose of transforming it into a thriving tourist destination. With billions of pesos invested, the development plan for Huatulco includes specific objectives for each of the nine bays.

Our development plan aims to create 20,000 hotel rooms, a second golf course, and various residential and commercial properties. These initiatives are set to enhance the tourism infrastructure of Huatulco, making it an even more attractive destination for travelers from around the world.

Huatulco Development Plan Objectives:

  • Create 20,000 hotel rooms
  • Establish a second golf course
  • Develop residential and commercial properties
  • Enhance infrastructure in the nine bays

We are excited about the future of Huatulco and the opportunities it presents for both residents and businesses. Together, we will continue to work towards sustainable development and the prosperity of our beautiful coastal community.

Public Services Governance Responsibility
Water Municipality of Santa María Huatulco
Sewage Municipality of Santa María Huatulco
Roads Municipality of Santa María Huatulco
Public Safety Municipality of Santa María Huatulco
Public Transport Municipality of Santa María Huatulco

The Importance of Tourism in Huatulco

Huatulco is a highly popular destination for tourists visiting Mexico, ranking 22nd among all destinations in the country. In the state of Oaxaca, it stands as the second most visited location. The tourism industry plays a crucial role in Huatulco’s local economy, being responsible for generating a significant portion of the tourism revenue in the state.

**Fun fact**: Did you know that Huatulco attracts 44% of the tourism revenue in Oaxaca? The area’s popularity as a tourist destination contributes greatly to its economic growth.

Huatulco owes its position as a top tourist destination to its stunning natural beauty, including its nine picturesque bays, pristine beaches, and lush greenery. Recognizing the immense potential for growth, the Mexican federal government, through FONATUR (the National Tourism Fund), has made substantial investments in developing Huatulco’s tourism infrastructure, infusing billions of pesos into the region.

Huatulco tourism

However, despite its popularity and government investments, Huatulco faces certain challenges in its tourism sector. In comparison to other FONATUR resorts like Cancun and Los Cabos, attracting commercial investments and expanding the hotel room capacity has proven to be more difficult for Huatulco.

Efforts have been made to overcome these challenges by strategically marketing Huatulco as a unique and sustainable destination. Addressing social and environmental concerns is a priority to ensure the long-term health and success of the tourism industry.

In this regard, Huatulco’s authorities have been working diligently to strike a balance between tourism development and preserving the area’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. By focusing on sustainable practices and engaging the local community, they aim to create an inclusive and responsible tourism sector that benefits both visitors and residents alike.

**Did you know**: Huatulco’s commitment to sustainability has been recognized with various certifications, including the EarthCheck Gold Standard, which validates its efforts to minimize its environmental impact.

To further enhance Huatulco’s appeal as a tourist destination, ongoing initiatives and collaborations are being implemented to diversify the visitor experience. By offering a wider range of attractions and activities, Huatulco aims to attract a broader demographic of tourists and increase its overall competitiveness in the global tourism market.

Despite the challenges faced, Huatulco’s tourism industry remains a vital component of its economy, creating opportunities for employment, economic growth, and cultural exchange. Through continued investments, sustainable practices, and a commitment to preserving its unique attractions, Huatulco’s tourism sector will continue to contribute to the region’s prosperity and promote the beauty and charm of the area to visitors from around the world.

Economic Challenges in Oaxaca

Oaxaca, located in Mexico, faces significant economic challenges that contribute to the state’s overall marginalization. The lack of infrastructure and limited access to education in the interior regions hinder Oaxaca’s economic development and growth.

Agriculture is the largest sector in Oaxaca’s economy, followed by commerce and services and industry. The fertile lands of Oaxaca support the production of various crops, including maize, coffee, and sugarcane. However, the agricultural sector is often plagued by issues such as low productivity, outdated farming practices, and limited access to markets, making it difficult for farmers to thrive.

The high rate of poverty in Oaxaca is another significant challenge. Many families struggle to make ends meet, with limited opportunities for employment and income generation. This economic hardship drives people to migrate from Oaxaca in search of better job prospects and improved living conditions.

“The economic challenges faced by Oaxaca are deeply intertwined with social issues, such as poverty and limited access to education and healthcare. Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach that focuses not only on economic development but also on improving social well-being.”

The informal sector also plays a crucial role in Oaxaca’s economy. Many individuals, especially women, engage in informal jobs such as domestic labor and artisanal production to supplement their income. While the informal sector provides some economic opportunities, it often lacks stability and social protection.

The migration rate from Oaxaca is significant, with many individuals leaving the state to seek better economic prospects elsewhere. This migration impacts the local economy as it deprives Oaxaca of its human resources, hindering the potential for economic growth and development.

migration from Oaxaca

The economic challenges faced by Oaxaca necessitate comprehensive strategies that focus on improving infrastructure, promoting sustainable agriculture, and creating more employment opportunities. Investing in education and skill development programs is crucial to empower Oaxacan individuals and enhance their capacity to contribute to the state’s economic growth. Addressing poverty and promoting inclusive economic development are key priorities for Oaxaca’s future.


Huatulco’s economy heavily relies on tourism, making it the primary industry in the area. However, the rapid development of tourism raises concerns regarding its impact on the local population and environment. While Huatulco’s economy thrives, the state of Oaxaca faces its own set of challenges, including high poverty rates, limited infrastructure, and lack of economic opportunities, particularly in rural areas. Migration is a common occurrence as individuals seek employment outside of Oaxaca.

Both Huatulco and Oaxaca’s economies are complex and multifaceted, demanding strategic planning and development initiatives to address the obstacles they face. It is crucial to find a balance between economic growth and the preservation of cultural heritage, natural resources, and the well-being of local communities. Sustainable tourism practices, investment diversification, and targeted infrastructure development are among the key strategies that can contribute to the continued growth and prosperity of Huatulco’s economy and the overall economic development of Oaxaca.

By addressing the challenges and maximizing the potential of key sectors in Huatulco, such as tourism, agriculture, and industry, we can foster economic growth, generate employment opportunities, and improve the standard of living for the people of Oaxaca. It is essential to prioritize inclusive and sustainable development that benefits both residents and visitors alike, ensuring a prosperous future for Huatulco and the entire Oaxaca region.


What industries contribute to Huatulco’s economy?

The primary industry in Huatulco is tourism, which contributes to 90% of the direct and indirect economic activity in the area. Additionally, there are other sectors such as agriculture, commerce, services, and industry that play a role in Huatulco’s economy.

What services are provided by the Municipality of Santa María Huatulco?

The Municipality of Santa María Huatulco is responsible for providing public services such as water, sewage, roads, public safety, public transport, parks, and cemeteries.

What is FONATUR and its role in Huatulco’s development?

FONATUR is a government agency that expropriated a coastal zone in Huatulco for tourism development in the 1980s. The federal government has invested billions of pesos through FONATUR to develop Huatulco as a tourist destination.

How important is tourism to Huatulco’s economy?

Tourism is the primary industry in Huatulco and generates 44% of the tourism revenue in the state of Oaxaca. Huatulco is the 22nd most popular tourist destination in Mexico and attracts a significant number of visitors.

What are the challenges faced by Huatulco’s tourism sector?

Despite significant investments in tourism infrastructure, Huatulco has faced challenges in attracting commercial investment and increasing hotel room capacity compared to other FONATUR resorts. Efforts are being made to strategically market Huatulco and address social and environmental concerns.

What are the main industries in Oaxaca?

The largest sector in Oaxaca’s economy is agriculture, followed by commerce, services, and industry. Oaxaca also has a significant informal sector, with women often working in jobs such as domestic labor and artisanal production.

What are the economic challenges faced by Oaxaca?

Oaxaca is one of the most economically marginalized states in Mexico, with challenges such as poverty, limited infrastructure, and limited economic opportunities, especially in rural areas. Many people from Oaxaca migrate to seek employment outside of the state.

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