Sunday, May 19, 2024

Cozumel saw over 1.2 million cruise ship passengers in 1st quarter

Cruise ship tourism on the islands of Cozumel is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, receiving 1.2 million cruise ship passengers aboard 390 ocean liners in the first three months of 2023.

The figure is 88.4% of the 1.4 million cruise tourists who visited Cozumel in the same period of 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic devastated the cruise industry.

Although cruise tourism restarted in mid-2021, the recovery has been gradual. Cozumel received just over 600,000 cruise ship passengers in the first quarter of 2022, less than half this year’s figure.

Across the country, Mexico saw 6.6 million cruise ship passengers in the whole of 2022, according to the Ports Directorate of the Infrastructure, Communications and Transport Ministry — around 75% of the 8.9 million who visited in 2019.

Over 60% of cruise tourists in 2022 arrived in the Caribbean ports of Cozumel and the rapidly developing tourist village of Mahahual. The next most popular destinations were the Pacific ports of Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.

Although Cozumel remains Mexico’s main cruise destination, it has lagged behind Mahahual in recovering pre-pandemic levels of cruise tourism. The 2.9 million cruise passengers Cozumel saw in 2022 represented around 64% of its record-breaking 2019 numbers, while the 1.2 million who arrived in Mahahual represented a recovery of 75%.

The number of cruise visitors to Cozumel over the year was also lower than the 3.5 million predicted by the Federal Tourism Secretariat (Sectur) in mid-2022.

In February 2022, a federal judge granted an injunction in favor of environmental activists in Cozumel, blocking the construction of a fourth cruise ship pier.

Cozumel is now looking to broaden its cruise routes, receiving for the first time this week the Viking Octantis, a small super-luxury cruise ship from Argentina.

“With the arrival of this new route from Argentina, Cozumel is consolidated as the leader in cruise ship arrivals in Central America and the Caribbean,” Quintana Roo governor Mara Lezama said on social media.

With reports from El Economista

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