Mazatlán, Sinaloa, is leading Mexico’s tourism recovery thanks to an influx of visitors from other parts of the country.
The Pacific coast resort city had the highest hotel occupancy among Mexico’s main tourism destinations during the November 13-16 Revolution Day long weekend.
Figures from the federal Tourism Ministry (Sectur) showed that average hotel occupancy in Mazatlán over the long weekend was 72%. By comparison, occupancy in Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and Cancún was 56.8%, 52.6% and 50.2%, respectively.
Some 225,000 people descended on the “Pearl of the Pacific” and injected 300 million pesos (US $14.9 million) into the local economy, according to municipal tourism authorities.
Mayor Luis Guillermo Benítez Torres told the newspaper El Universal that Mazatlán is more fortunate than most tourism destinations because the majority of visitors arrive by car rather than on flights.
“We had greater luck in Mazatlán because most visitors arrive via land thanks to the Matamoros-Mazatlán highway, the super highway,” he said.
Benítez said the city welcomed tourists from states including Tamaulipas, Sonora and Nayarit as well as people from other parts of Sinaloa. Municipal tourism chief Luis Terán Tirado said people also flocked to the city from Guadalajara, Jalisco.
The mayor said the pandemic’s impact on tourism hasn’t been felt as acutely in Mazatlán as other destinations.
Mexican visitors are driving the tourism recovery in the city. Since hotels reopened after closing in April, May and June due to the coronavirus pandemic, eight of 10 tourists staying in Mazatlán hotels have been Mexicans, according to Sectur.
Thanks to the support of domestic tourists, the city will be the first in Mexico to recover fully from the pandemic-induced downturn, Benítez asserted. Tourist numbers in 2021 could be even higher than in 2019, he said.
“We’re leading the tourism recovery; we’re even ahead of Acapulco, the Riviera Maya and Los Cabos,” Benítez said. “I estimate in a month or two months maximum that we’ll reach 100% air connectivity,” he added.
Statistics show that just under 64,000 domestic passengers flew into the Mazatlán airport in October, the highest level since February. Flights are also currently arriving from United States and Canadian cities including Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas and Edmonton but international arrivals remain below pre-pandemic levels.
Other destinations that are more dependent on international tourists and haven’t recovered as strongly as Mazatlán look set to get a boost next week from American Thanksgiving travelers. Air traffic departing the United States will be significantly lower than during the Thanksgiving break in recent years but those who do travel are likely to be visiting Mexico.
An analysis by the insurance company Allianz found that Cancún, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta are, in that order, the top three international destinations for Thanksgiving tourists.