Saturday, June 15, 2024

Destinations prepare for spring breakers but in fewer numbers than pre-pandemic

Mexico’s top tourist destinations are bracing for an influx of tourists over spring break, but are still expecting fewer than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The head of the hotel association in Cancún, Puerto Morelos and Isla Mujeres, Jesús Almaguer, predicts that 20,000 spring breakers will visit Quintana Roo this year. But the number will depend on the confidence of travelers’ families.

“We hope the number goes up, but everything depends on the confidence they have in the destination … it’s more a case of generating confidence in the parents, who pay for the trip,” he said.

“Unfortunately, times are not like before when we reached 90,000 or 100,000 tourists in the season … at the moment we are at 79% hotel occupancy [within COVID limitations],” he added.

Spring break travelers have traditionally been good for the industry although they are thriftier than most. Each is expected to spend US $200 during the entire stay, vastly less than the $1,500 that visitors to the region spend on average.

Meanwhile, some tourist businesses in the region are less focused on disposable income and more interested in welcoming a different kind of tourist. The president of the Hotel Association of Tulum, David Ortiz Mena, said the destination was looking for a quieter breed of visitor. “Spring break tourism can generate certain consequences … party and fun, contrary to what Tulum promotes,” he said.

Although spring break numbers may be down, meetings and conferences are likely to generate numbers as high as 90% of pre-pandemic levels this year, according to the Quintana Roo director of conferences and weddings tourism.

In the north, Baja California is hopeful for a strong spring break period since the latest coronavirus stoplight map upgraded the state’s risk level from orange to green.

The change was applauded by business groups for the boost it will provide the tourist industry but questioned by some in the health sector.

But despite the risk of coronavirus infection and fears over security, Mexico is still the most popular spring break destination for U.S. tourists, according to the travel site Upgraded Points. The site collated Google Trends search data over the past 12 months and found that Mexican hot spots were the most searched for destinations in 25 U.S. states.

Cancún was the most sought after destination in 16 states; Puerto Vallarta came top in seven; and Cabo San Lucas was top of the list in two.

In regional terms, Cancún was the top destination for U.S. travelers from the Midwest, while Puerto Vallarta was the most desired vacation city for people in the western United States.

Spring break dates range from late February to mid-April, but most of the week-long holidays are in March.

With reports from Por Esto, Palco Noticias, Reportur, Travel Pulse and Fox 5 San Diego 

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