The coronavirus pandemic begins to take its toll on tourism in Jalisco. Flights and hotel reservations have been canceled in Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, as well as cruises that suspended their services for 30-days.
Personnel from the Integral Port Administration, API Puerto Vallarta, confirmed that the cruises of the Royal Princess shipping company were canceled.
“Of all, the only one that canceled is the Royal Princess, it is the only one that has canceled so far,” said an API official. However, Carnival Cruises has also announced all cruises will be canceled until April 10, along with many other cruise lines putting a 30-day suspension on cruises.
Airlines such as Aeroméxico and Volaris announced the cancellation of routes and frequencies from the airports of Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta.
“What we have had the most is a reduction of frequencies, what they have been telling us is that perhaps some international frequencies (were canceled) to defend themselves more,” explained Alejandro Guzmán Larralde, general strategic coordinator of Economic Growth and Development of Jalisco.
The official acknowledged the negative impact that the pandemic has had on the tourism sector.
“Indeed, in terms of tourism, we have had a reduction, above all, of international visitors, not 100 percent. The Visitors and Conventions Office informed me this morning that at the level of visitors, the drop fluctuated in a range between 30 and 50 percent depending on the destination,” he said.
However, the official trusted that the drop in international tourists will be compensated with national tourism for the next vacation period, which is just two weeks away with Semana Santa, the Easter Holiday week.
He clarified that a significant drop in hotel occupancy is not expected on weekends, but a lower occupancy could be registered during the week.
Another sector that could be significantly affected is the restaurant, for which a decrease of 30 to 40 percent in sales is expected.
However, Alejandro Guzmán acknowledges that the drop in tourist traffic could be a double-edged sword.
“The holidays are getting ahead, that means that many people are going to go to the beach, we are going to have full national tourism on the beaches, of course, we will have to have the measures there,” he concluded.
In the Guadalajara metropolitan area, there are more than a dozen events that have been postponed or canceled.
Gustavo Staufert, director of the Guadalajara Convention and Visitors Bureau (OFVC), explained that event restrictions were extended until April.
“What we are reviewing and what refers strictly to the meeting industry is that the effects are going to be until March and April. The events that are being rescheduled are for the summer and taking into account the first days of September because leaving for October or November would already be very difficult to reschedule for the events that are already taking place,” he said.
The executive acknowledged that the events that have been postponed and canceled lasted until April.
“Those who canceled were very small except for the WTA, which was an impossibility that tennis players could come, but the big ones have rescheduled dates, that means that we are going to have a very interesting summer in the meeting industry,” he said.
The OFVC director highlighted the work carried out by the State Government and trusted that this coordination could allow for a faster recovery.
This year for Guadalajara they had a growth of almost 15 points in March, because there were a number of very important events and they expected 15 percent in the economic outflow.
“However it turned out to be a good February, the first part of March was good, but what will be the final impact, we do not know, it is likely that we will arrive the same as last year.”
However, he clarified that the loss of March and April could be recovered in June and July.
The cancellation or rescheduling of more than a dozen events in Expo Guadalajara due to the coronavirus will cause a collapse in visitors and exhibitors to Expo Guadalajara, especially internationally.
In fact, in the last edition of the International Furniture Expo and Art Expo delegations from Asian and European countries canceled their participation.
The president of the Technical Committee of Expo Guadalajara, Guillermo Cervantes Fernández, admitted the impact it will have on this fairground.
“People are making decisions to limit travel and the authorities of the different countries are also limiting people’s travel,” he said.
According to the leader of Expo Guadalajara, it is expected that there will be at least a drop of up to 20 percent of international visitors.
Postponed or canceled events to be held in March and April:
Annual International Congress of the Mexican Association of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery – Canceled
National Tequila Day – Rescheduled
Alestra Fest – Postponed
Antad – Reprogrammed
Talent Land – Reprogrammed
Expo Joya – Reprogrammed
National Congress of Balanced Food Manufacturers – Rescheduled
Open WTA – Canceled
Concacaf Olympic – Postponed
Ricky Martín – Canceled
Guadalajara International Film Festival – Canceled
Tokyo and Concacaf Olympic Qualification – Postponed