TREND: Mexico’s tourism industry is still fighting for survival. Travel between the Mexico-US border is open only for essential crossings through the period ending on September 21. Cruise-ships are still not operating and are trying to adjust schedules and expectations held since the beginning of the pandemic. Air travel remains the best option for getting into the country. Despite this, the number of foreign nationals arriving by airplane fell by 53.4 percent (from 10.1 to 4.7 million visitors) during the first semester of 2020 compared to the same period last year, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism.
•The tourism sector hopes that the summer season will help break its standstill. The Mexican Minister of Tourism, Miguel Torruco, recently expressed that the country plans for three different recovery scenarios for the industry, adjusted for epidemiological considerations. The most optimistic situation would still mean 55 percent fewer visitors for 2020 than last year.
•Americans and Canadians make up 72 percent of visitors to Mexico via plane. During the first half of 2019, 5.6 million Americans and 1.4 million Canadians came into the country this way. For the same period of this year, those numbers dropped to 2.5 million and 0.9 million, respectively. The airlines maintaining service to Mexico, ordered by volume of foreign passengers to the country during this time, are American Airlines, Aeroméxico, Interjet, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and Volaris.
•Traditionally competitive destinations are the ones better holding up during the crisis. Mexico’s tourism portfolio is extensive; however, big cities and notable beach towns are the only ones with a trickle of visitors during the health emergency. Busiest airports for foreign travelers are Cancún, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, and Guadalajara. Together, they have received 90 percent of foreigners in Mexico during 2020. If visiting the country, try to stay in these frequented places or those certified with the “Safe Travels Stamp” by the World Travel & Tourism Council.
•Health screenings are in place at entry points, like temperature checks for visitors. More meticulous screenings could happen if a visitor shows further symptoms of COVID-19, with possible enforcement of quarantine or forced return to the visitor’s point of origin. No previous health tests are required for entry. Do not risk travel to Mexico or anywhere else if you’ve been in recent contact with people with confirmed or suspected symptoms of COVID-19.
TAKEAWAY: Health protocols are in place to make travel safe. Domestic and foreign tourism is inching towards recovery and could bring relief to destinations in dire need of financial flows. If deciding to visit, observe all norms in place by airlines, airports, authorities, lodging facilities, and other commercial ventures. If rules seem different than those in your country of origin, err on the side of caution. Avoid parties, large crowds, or any other kind of interior gathering. Value current precautions as a means of preserving the health of local citizens, service providers, and tourism in the long-run.
* Spotlight by Sergio Mendoza, Senior Consultant at Riskop, a consulting firm focused on strategic intelligence and risk mitigation for investors and decision-makers in complex sociopolitical environments. It is located in Monterrey, Mexico. Twitter: @RiskopMx