International tourist numbers this summer will rebound strongly from last year’s pandemic-induced slump, the federal Tourism Ministry (Sectur) predicts.
Tourism Minister Miguel Torruco said his ministry made visitor number projections for July and August based on three possible scenarios. He didn’t reveal Sectur’s forecasts for optimistic and pessimistic scenarios but 20.2 million tourists are expected in a conservative one.
That would represent a 178% increase compared to July and August last year, when approximately 7.4 million international tourists came to Mexico, Sectur said.
The ministry predicts that tourists will spend just over 49 billion pesos (US $2.4 billion) on accommodation, a 48.5% increase compared to 2020. It forecasts average hotel occupancy of 52.2%, 36% higher than last summer.
Torruco noted that travel analytics firm ForwardKeys projects that visitor numbers this summer will actually be higher than in 2019.
Based on an analysis of airline ticket sales between January 1 and June 23, the Spanish firm predicted that air arrivals to Mexico will be 31.9% higher than in the same period of 2019.
Sectur cited projected increases in visitors from four key countries: a 30.4% increase in air arrivals from the United States – the No. 1 source country for international visitors to Mexico; a 27.6% increase from Spain; a 21.3% increase from Switzerland; and a 5.2% increase from France.
The airports in Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and Cancún will receive the highest number of U.S. tourists over the summer, according to ForwardKeys.
United States citizens are already flocking to Mexico with a new record of almost 1 million Americans arriving in May.
“The northern neighbors have greatly aided the tourism sector in Mexico,” said Juan Gomez, insights analyst at ForwardKeys.
“Our air ticketing data has consistently shown the popularity of flights from the USA to Mexico since the summer of 2020, particularly on routes to Los Cabos in Baja California, Cancún and Puerto Vallarta,” he said.
Gomez said that “keeping borders open during the pandemic is key” to a strong tourism recovery as is “widening your air network.”
“Air connectivity is a key driver for demand. Currently, airlines are offering just 6% fewer seats than in 2019 for all international routes to Mexico in July and August,” he said.
Mexico doesn’t require incoming travelers to show negative Covid-19 test results, get tested on arrival or go into mandatory quarantine. The absence of restrictions has been cited as a key factor in Mexico’s strong tourism recovery compared to many other countries.
Americans are coming here in large numbers even though the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently warned U.S. citizens of high rates of Covid-19 in Mexico and advised them to reconsider plans to travel here.
Mexico is currently recording its highest daily case numbers since the start of the year as the Delta strain of the virus drives a third wave of the pandemic. Hospitalizations and deaths are down compared to the first and second waves but Mexico continues to record hundreds of fatalities on a daily basis.
Mexico News Daily