2020: the worst year in the history of tourism… not for Mexico

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The World Tourism Organization described 2020 as “the worst year in the history of tourism” in the world, with one billion fewer international arrivals and a decrease of 74% compared to 2019.

But in Mexico, in the absence of data for the end of the year, the latest estimates from its Ministry of Tourism (Sectur) and the National Tourism Business Council put this drop in the country at “only” 44% or 45%.

According to the Sectur, in fact, this lower impact would mean that Mexico would rise from seventh to third place in the list of countries that receive more international tourists.

The Mexican Secretary of Tourism, Miguel Torruco, made it clear that this improvement is something “temporary”, until the effects of Covid-19 in tourism adjust to the new normal in the future.


But about what has been the main cause that Mexico has been able to save the tourist disaster better than other competitors, there seems to be no doubt.

“It is obvious that one of the main factors why Mexico advanced in this ranking is because the authorities kept open-air spaces, apart from the fact that it obviously has tourist attractions that make us among the most visited in the world,” he tells BBC Mundo Gustavo Armenta, communication director of the Sectur.

“If you add to that the fact that other competing countries such as those of the Caribbean did close their skies and put restrictions, clearly they are factors that caused that tourism to be channeled to Mexico,” he adds.

“Of course, the few COVID-related travel restrictions influenced international tourism to Mexico,” agrees Stephen McGillivray, head of marketing for Travel Leaders Group, one of the largest travel agency companies in the US and Canada.

Famous Mexican destinations like Cancun, trying to recover from the impact of the pandemic, caught the interest of tourism in the December holidays.

The majority of foreign arrivals by plane in Mexico during 2020 continued to arrive precisely from these two countries: 65% of the total were from the United States and 12.3% from Canada, according to Sectur.

“Many of the most sought after destinations by American and Canadian travelers were cities in Mexico such as Cancun, Riviera Maya / Playa del Carmen / Tulum, Los Cabos, and Puerto Vallarta,” confirmed to BBC Mundo in writing the online travel agency Expedia in Mexico.

Zach Rabinor, president of the luxury tourism company Journey Mexico, points out that although its activity fell by 51% compared to 2019, the situation in the country could have been worse.

“Visits to Mexico benefited from restrictions in other latitudes. Here, the business never completely stopped and throughout the year 2020 there was air service available from the main cities of North America,” he tells BBC Mundo.

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In contrast to the situation in Mexico, the agencies cite popular destinations in Europe such as Italy, Spain or the United Kingdom as some of those that saw the greatest drop among their clients due to travel restrictions and the closure of their borders.

In Latin America, places with great tourism losses were “Puerto Rico, Peru and mainly Brazil, very affected by the Brazilian strain of the virus that caused large emitters of their tourism to cut their ties,” the president of the Confederation of Tourist Organizations of Latin America (Cotal), Guillermo Schneider.

Source: BBC

Mexico Daily Post