The future of the pandemic is uncertain and so is the impact it will continue to have this year on the tourism industry.
Mexico’s National Tourism Business Council predicted in a January report that international tourist arrivals could increase 10% this year, although they would still be 40% below 2019 and foresees a “very long” road to the recovery of the sector.
It also remains to be seen how some measures recently taken by the main countries of origin of their foreign tourism will affect Mexico.
Canada suspended its flights to Mexico and the Caribbean until April 30 due to the pandemic, while the United States requires a negative covid-19 test since January 26 to enter the country by air, including US citizens returning home.
“Yes, we will see for this requirement a drop (in trips from the US) but we hope it will not be huge, given the infrastructure for testing that is being built in Mexico, especially in the most popular tourist areas,” said Erika Richter, communication director of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA).
The president of the company Journey Mexico confirms that after the entry into force of this measure “there was a short wave of cancellations and postponed trips” from the US, but that the activity has already been regularized.
Some tourists areconcerned that a negative test is now required to return to the US because of the risk of testing positive in Mexico and “be grounded there.”
But others agree that a coronavirus test before boarding the plane to your country of origin is not a bad idea to travel “safely” and, in fact, many people believe that Mexico should also do so.
We must recognize that there is a differential factor when it comes to explaining the infections. The US and most European countries severely restrict international travel and cases are just as skyrocketing.
What is clear is that tourism will continue to be mired in uncertainty, waiting to see how the pandemic evolves.
Guillermo Schneider from the Confederation of Tourist Organizations of Latin America (Confederación de Organizaciones Turísticas de América Latina: COTAL), believes that perhaps this contributes to a “professionalization of the sector” and that travelers turn more to organized tourism and agencies due to the idea that their health and safety protocols can reduce their possibility of being infected on vacation.
“Hopefully sooner, but we estimate that 2022 will be the year of tourist activity. People are going to start traveling like never before because that is an activity that cannot be changed in people’s character,” the leader of the Confederation of Tourist Organizations of Latin America.
by Marcos González Díaz
BBC News Mundo correspondent in Mexico