The new rules for entering the United States, which provide for a COVID-19 test with a negative result and a 10-day quarantine, set off alarms in the Mexican tourism industry, which has a strong dependence on American travelers, who they represent up to 63 percent of the foreign vacationers who visit the country.
According to figures from the Ministry of Tourism (Sectur), the requirements, adjusted by the president of the United States, Joe Biden, will imply a hit of 1,578 million dollars in the entry of tourist foreign currency to the country in the worst case scenario.
At the beginning of the year, the agency in charge of Miguel Torruco, announced that, in the worst case scenario, the income of foreign exchange related to tourism this year would reach 13 thousand 78 million dollars, however, after the announcement of new restrictions, the spill would drop to $ 11.5 billion.
The restrictions, in an optimistic scenario, would eliminate 9.6 million foreign visitors.
In this regard, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC, for its acronym in English) ruled against quarantines, although it insisted that a protocol for the application of rapid tests of SARS-CoV-2 should be encouraged.
According to estimates from the Centro de Investigación Competitividad Turística (Cicotur) Anáhuac, the arrival of international tourists would reach 27 million, a figure 40 percent lower than that registered during 2019 and just 10.9 percent more than in 2020.
Francisco Madrid, director of Cicotur, said that these figures are based on information from the reserves of the players in the tourism industry, although he remarked that, given the instability in the sector, these could change abruptly.
The requirement for a test prior to boarding the plane had already been ordered by the government of Donald Trump, but isolation was only a recommendation, which will now be mandatory.
Mexican and US authorities have entered into conversations to define the type of tests necessary to be applied, in addition to the conditions under which the quarantines would be carried out.
However, hotels and airlines have already deployed measures to ensure rapid or PCR tests so that travelers do not have any setbacks to return to the United States.
Braulio Arsuaga, president of the Tourism Business Council (CNET), told El Financiero that the entire industry is already negotiating the acquisition of the tests and their application in the facilities to avoid a greater impact on the arrival of Americans.
“Companies in the hotel sector, as well as air and land transport, and even airport groups and other service providers, started processes to negotiate such tests, especially the antigen test, which is what can be done in the hotel’s own facilities. ”Arsuaga said.
The president of CNET indicated that, even, tourism companies have created alliances with laboratories to send the tests and obtain the result before the guest’s departure.
-The US requirement for a Covid test already existed, but until now isolation was not mandatory.
-After the announcement of new restrictions, the tourist income would fall to 11 thousand 500 million dollars.
-Hotels and airlines partnered with laboratories to send the tests and obtain the result before the guest’s departure.
Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP) is one of the operators that has already installed temporary laboratories in its twelve air ports to carry out tests at the airports themselves.
The price of an antigen test (rapid) will be 450 pesos, while the PRC will be 1,450 pesos, these costs will only apply to travelers with international flights.
Enrique Beltranena, general director of Volaris, said that the recovery of the airline industry in Mexico depends, to a large extent, on what happens in the United States with the pandemic and with the vaccination program implemented by the northern neighbor.
In an interview, the director of the Mexican airline that mobilizes 43 percent of domestic passengers, stated that the quarantine that the United States seeks to apply is not yet clear, however, the airline has already made the passenger service available to passengers. rapid tests at all airports where it operates.
“The quarantine is not yet clear, we continue working with IATA to determine where it ends, the quarantine part is a suggestion, what is a mandatory process is an antigen test,” said Beltranena.
The US market is of vital importance to the country’s tourism economy, as it represents around 63 percent of travelers who arrive in the country by air, the passenger sector that also spends the most in the country.
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