Tourism to beach destinations in Mexico is less than half that of the same period last year, before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, and marks its worst February in 14 years. However, unlike 2007, when in February hotel occupancy reached 81%, this time it reports a level close to 40%, according to the Datatur Monitoring System of the Ministry of Tourism (Sectur).
Faced with lower occupancy, hotels, airlines and travel agencies are struggling to survive, applying unprecedented discounts during 2021. Figures from Inegi show that, on average, Cancun hotels charged 10% less in the first half of February this year than in the same fortnight in 2020. Airline tickets to that destination fell 28% cheaper and packaged tourist services fell 20%.
In all three cases it means the steepest decline for a similar fortnight since information is available in the Inegi. Asur linked the lower volume of travelers with “serious recessions in business and leisure travel derived from the COVID-19 pandemic.” Since January 26, it is mandatory to present a negative COVID-19 test to travel from Mexico to the United States, while Canada declared the suspension of all flights from January 31 to April 30. These two countries sent eight out of 10 foreign tourists to Mexico in 2020.
Puerto Vallarta reported its worst period last month, whose airport served only 161,000 passengers, that is, less than a third of travelers who arrived in February 2020.
Cabo San Lucas airport received 233,000 passengers last month, less than half that of a year ago, and it was its worst February in the last decade, data from Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP) show.
The Sectur estimates that Mexico will lose $782 million dollars this year due to the prevention measures announced by Canada, which could generate a decrease of up to 791,000 tourists.
Given the drop in rates and lower occupancy, February could have been the worst month for tourism since the coronavirus pandemic began, warned Braulio Arsuaga, president of the National Tourism Business Council (CNET).