Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Tourists return to Guerrero destinations but numbers are small

Acapulco’s hotels, beaches, and restaurants opened again to tourists for the first time in three months on the weekend, but hotels are reporting a disappointing start with barely 13% occupancy.

It’s indicative of a greater trend in Guerrero, which officially was allowed to reopen 11 types of public activity to 30% capacity last Friday, after its Covid-19 risk rating under the federal government’s “stoplight” system moved from red to orange.

This also included tourism-dependent activities like sportsfishing and boat tours. However, the newspaper El Universal found that three major tourist destinations in the state — Acapulco, Taxco, and Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa — were reporting average occupancy of only 15% on Sunday.

The latter reported 21% and Taxco 11%.

Nor are vacation hotspots out of the woods medically, despite the state’s orange rating. Two weeks ago, the hospitality industry in Acapulco began pushing for the partial reopening of the city, saying the local tourism economy was in crisis. Governor Héctor Astudillo Flores was in agreement, and cited a video of a recent conversation with Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell, in which the latter said the state was trending downward overall in coronavirus cases and had increased capacity at its hospitals.

Nevertheless, hospitals dedicated to Covid-19 patients in Acapulco are still 51.4% occupied, and the city reported 104 new cases on Sunday.

Reopening is also likely to move slowly, and many businesses may never recover, said Alejandro Martínez Sidney, president of the Confederation of Chambers of Commerce, Service, and Tourism, who told El Universal that more than 480 businesses in Acapulco were not able to open this weekend because they couldn’t afford the cost of doing so.

Even large chain businesses on the busy Costera Miguel Alemán, such as Pizza Hut and Buffalo Xtreme, were not prepared to reopen, he said. The pandemic has pushed some business into bankruptcy.

At Calinda Beach Hotel, a popular luxury beach hotel in Acapulco’s Golden Zone that is currently taking bookings on its website, employees who showed up to work on the weekend reportedly were told they no longer had jobs. 

Sources: El Universal (sp)

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