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Crowded beaches, open-air parties and consistent tourism, this is how the iconic Mexican Caribbean looked – in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo – during the Christmas holidays and now, in the middle of January, national and foreign tourism continues to be present. (Photo: EFE)
Tourism in the Mexican Caribbean resists the coronavirus pandemic with visitors coming especially from the United States, adaptations against the clock to the new sanitary measures and criticism for the supposed permissiveness in some areas.
Crowded beaches, open-air parties and consistent tourismThis is how the iconic Mexican Caribbean looked – in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo – during the Christmas holidays and now, in the middle of January, national and foreign tourism continues to be present.
With a mask and under the sun, Ray Butler has been enjoying his vacation in Cancun for several weeks. He arrived accompanied by his family from Utah, United States, escaping the freezing winter temperatures.
“I came here because of the heat, the sun and the wonderful people of Mexico,” he told Efe on Wednesday after helping a group of workers to collect cigarette butts and plastic remains from the sand.The ultimate goal is to reposition the Mexican Caribbean as one of the world’s tourist poles and ensure that Mexico remains in the first countries by number of tourists.
In Playa Delfines, the most visited of the entire spa, in recent days different infrastructure works were carried out such as the placement of palapas and cleaning common areas.
The ultimate goal is to reposition the Mexican Caribbean as one of the world’s tourist poles and ensure that Mexico remains in the top countries by number of tourists.
In 2020, and benefiting from less strict measures than in other nations, Mexico became the third most visited country in the world, with about 25.1 million tourism, according to estimates by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Normally, it was in the “top 10”.
And in the best scenario for tourism in 2021, the country estimates the arrival of some 33.1 million international tourists, who will leave foreign currency for about 16,000 million dollars (13,228 million euros).
SANITARY MEASURESIt is estimated that hotels will be able to apply up to 15,000 tests per day, assuming the cost themselves. The vast majority would be for citizens of the northern neighbors, the United States and Canada, as they are its main market.
The tourist destinations of Quintana Roo have ready the action plan to offer tourists who rapid tests to detect coronavirus return to their place of origin.
The United States, its main market, announced the mandatory nature of a negative test as of January 26 to enter or return to its nation. And they also ask for it in other nations.
It is estimated that hotels will be able to apply up to 15,000 tests per day, assuming the cost. The vast majority would be for citizens of the northern neighbors, the United States and Canada, as they are its main market.
Most of the tests, endorsed by health and regulatory authorities, will be carried out in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres.The Mexican territory received 45.6% fewer international tourists in November than in the same month of 2019, going from just over 3.84 million to about 2.09 million travelers due to the covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to these tests, from cleaning personnel to masseurs today work under strict protocols to avoid coronavirus infections.
“We established a program that covers all protocols following global health standards,” the manager of the Krystal Cancún hotel, José Luis Medina, explained to Efe.
Although in Quintana Roo the pandemic is not overwhelmed, in general figures Mexico is experiencing a critical situation with more than 142,800 deaths and almost 1.7 million cases.
FACING LOSSESThe year 2021 looks better, but to achieve a rebound in tourism, the hotel and service infrastructure must adapt.
In tourist destinations in Quintana Roo, the covid-19 pandemic has left a long trail of economic losses, layoffs of personnel and total or partial closures of businesses.
In the Riviera Maya, for example, according to preliminary estimates there was a fall of almost 50% in occupancy, going from 6.5 million tourists in 2019 to 3.3 million in 2020.
The year 2021 looks better, but to achieve a rebound in tourism, the hotel and service infrastructure must adapt.
“We are going to work hand in hand to support, to offer free rapid samples to our guests who return to the United States and Canada,” said Medina.
Positively, the hotel manager said there is no longer “So much cancellation” of trips already booked, which is a “good sign” for the sector.
David Ortiz Mena, president of the Tulum Hoteliers Association, announced that during December, which is historically one of the months with the highest influx of visitors, an average occupancy of 42% was reached, but in January they could be below 30%.
PRIVATE PUBLICWhile in recent weeks, as reported by other parts of the state, the arrival of tourism from the United States and Canada increased, while the European remained.
At the beginning of the pandemic, and for almost four months, Holbox Island was closed in its entirety for the arrival of tourists. And for its inhabitants, only food and supplies were allowed access.
While in recent weeks, as reported by other parts of the state, the arrival of tourism from the United States and Canada increased, while the European remained.
It is because of that today Josué Nivardo Mena Villanueva, mayor of the municipality of Lázaro Cárdenas -where the popular island of Holbox is located-, considered that in order to reactivate the tourist machinery, the association of the private initiative, the health sector and business organizations is essential.
Bárbara Hérnandez, president of the Holbox Hotel Association, told Efe that they are in negotiations so that private doctors and even a chain of pharmacies can apply COVID tests to tourists without having to leave the island.
According to Hernández, Holbox has become an even more attractive place for tourists because its hotel offer is made up of small establishments, and this pleases a new type of visitor; the one who takes advantage of the “home-office” to work from other corners of the world.
In fact, the hotel he manages, Las Nubes, now has a guest who will stay for a month because he decided “Pass the pandemic in a different way.”
RECOVER CONFIDENCEState authorities announced that to date 259 businesses that did not respect sanitary measures have closed.
For David Ortiz Mena, president of the Tulum Hoteliers Association, the promotion policies focused on national tourism gave good results.
And the constant arrival of flights from the United States to Cancun is a sign of confidence in the destination despite the criticism and the bad image generated by several clandestine end-of-the-year parties in Tulum that went viral on social networks.
On this issue, state authorities announced that to date 259 businesses that did not respect sanitary measures have closed.
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