The tourism industry continues to accumulate losses, despite the fact that sun and beach destinations begin to reactivate the influx of visitors.
As of September, the pandemic prevented 10 thousand 668 million dollars from entering the various tourism companies, a drop of 57.3 percent, compared to the first nine months of 2019, and a negative variation never before registered in the history of the ‘ industry without chimneys’ in the country.
The loss in income is equivalent to the cost of 2.3 Interurban Trains Mexico-Toluca; o 2.7 times what is planned to be invested in the Santa Lucía International Airport o 1.4 Maya Trains in the southeast of the country.
As of September 2020, the spill of foreign visitors amounted to 7,951 million dollars, a very distant figure from the 18,620 million that entered the country between January and September 2019, according to INEGI data.
Tourism was one of the activities that felt the impact of COVID the fastest and one of the sectors that will take the longest to recover according to expert estimates.
Updated data from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimate that recovering pre-pandemic levels could take up to 36 months or three years, a forecast that depends on a potential second ‘wave’ of infections.
The impact on tourism in Mexico is mainly due to a lower flow of foreign visitors, particularly from the United States, Canada, Europe and South America.
In the January-September period, 5.7 million tourists arrived in the country by air, of which six out of 10 came from some American city.
“It is crucial that we reactivate international travel, international connectivity to bring it to how it was before COVID or similar. In some destinations we have seen an impressive recovery such as China (…). international coordination is needed ”, said Gloria Guevara, president of the WTTC.
Mexico was one of the few countries that did not close its air borders in Latin America, but international operations fell by more than 95 percent.
In the first nine months of the year, Mexico lost 8.4 million international travelers, which means a drop of 59.7 percent compared to the previous year, according to data from the Migration Policy Unit of the Ministry of the Interior.
Due to a lower influx of foreign visitors, hotel occupancy also suffered a strong setback of 35.3 percentage points at the end of September, that is, the average occupancy nationwide does not exceed 25 percent.
For Bernardo Santillana, commercial director of RCD Hotels, the recovery is estimated for 2022, since 2021 will be to fulfill the reservations that were postponed in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Despite the low influx of foreigners to Mexico, Santillana highlighted the role of the Mexican market in the recovery, especially in the segment with high purchasing power.
“The Mexican traveler who used to leave is staying in Mexico and is looking for a certain type of luxury hotels in the country and that is giving us pleasure, that the high purchasing power market is staying in the country,” Santillana said.
The drop in international travelers impacted employment: the nearly 4 million direct jobs generated by tourism were affected and are a long way from recovering.
According to an analysis by Cicotur Anáhuac, about 114 thousand jobs related to accommodation services were lost.
“The magnitude of the loss of formal workers in accommodation services far exceeds the modest recovery. After having bottomed out in July, only 988 new insureds have been registered with the IMSS (as of September), ”the agency said.
Despite the impact on the tourism industry, Mexico is one of the countries that is beginning to rebound in the number of visitors and its air connection is consolidating as one of the most advanced in the slow recovery.
Mexico leads recovery in LA
Figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) highlight that Mexico is the country with the greatest recovery in terms of the volume of air reservations in all of Latin America.
While countries like Argentina have reservation levels with 98 percent drops compared to October 2019, Mexico has a 57 percent reduction, a drop driven by the suspension of international flights between April and May.
The president of the Association of Tourism Secretaries, Luis Araiza said that Mexico has a competitive advantage over other countries that remain closed to tourism due to poor implementation of biosafety protocols.
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