For the last couple of nights, the fronts of hotels in several tourist cities in Mexico changed their facade. Despite the fact that almost no one walks the streets, the lights of these buildings illuminate hearts and write the word ‘FE’ (Faith in Spanish). It is a message of hope, in the midst of desolation.
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The idea began in hotels in Polanco, in Mexico City, and was soon replicated in Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, these last two precious beach destinations that today succumb to the coronavirus.
The situation facing the tourism sector in Mexico is perhaps one of the hardest hit. Hotel occupancy in the main destinations averages 10%, and more than 300 chain hotels have closed, says Héctor Flores, director of Grupo Empresarial Strategy (Gemes), a consultant in the tourism sector.
“There is a very decisive impact, but this crisis is really beginning. The worst is yet to come. Not only for tourism, but from the point of view of the public health crisis,” he says.
The tourist destinations of Quintana Roo, the state to which Cancun belongs, the main beach in Mexico, stopped receiving more than $1.6 million dollars for the cancellation of flights and reservations in the last two weeks alone.
The few who have dared to travel to the Riviera Maya have done so because they believe that it is a better place to spend the quarantine, which will last until April 30, for now, like Francisco Espinoza, a textile businessman from the city of Guadalajara.
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“We hope to find a little more activity, it is completely empty, I think it is about 10% of what it normally is. There are shops open but there is almost no consumption of people and outside the center it is also the same,” he said.
Another blow will be received by the cruise industry, since Cozumel is one of the main destinations in the world. “In the association we believe that only 20% of the companies in the sector will survive this crisis,” says Iván Ferrat Mancera, president of Asociados Náuticos de Quintana Roo.