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A resort at Playacar A resort at Playacar, which recorded the highest hotel occupancy in the first quarter.

Record occupancy during first quarter

Hotels in 70 destinations saw an average 59% occupancy rate

Hotel occupancy rates from January through March in Mexico’s principal tourist destinations were the highest quarterly rates recorded by the Secretariat of Tourism since it began keeping records in 2004.

Occupancy in the 70 destinations reached 59.42%, beating the previous record, set in the third quarter of last year, of 57.8%.

“We are experiencing a tourist boom in the country,” said Rafael García, president of the Mexican Association of Hotels and Motels, observing that occupancy rates had recovered even as more rooms have been added to the inventory.

Although opinion polls would suggest otherwise, perceptions around security have also improved, said García, a belief echoed by Jorge Hernández, president of the Mexican Federation of Tourist Associations.

“The perception has improved in the sense of general security in the country,” he said, while noting it was important to remember there are states with red flags.

“. . . but in general the [tourist] destinations are well developed in terms of infrastructure, care for visitors as well as in quality; plus there’s more highway and airline connectivity,” Hernández said.

Another factor, said García, was that Easter Week fell this year in March and was accompanied by a long weekend, which gave many people the opportunity to take two weeks in vacations.

For a tourism specialist at the Ibero-American University, economic factors have also come into play. Gerardo Herrera said low inflation and salary increases that have been higher than the inflation rate have contributed to greater purchasing power.

Take into account remittances from abroad, which have also seen increases, and there is more money for discretionary spending, he said.

The highest occupancy rates in the first quarter were seen at Playacar in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, with 88%, followed by Nuevo Vallarta in Nayarit with 86.7%, Akumal, 37 kilometers from Playa del Carmen, with 86.4%, Puerto Vallarta with 82.5% and Cancún with 80.9%, according to the Tourism Secretariat.

Source: El Financiero (sp)

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