With the coronavirus pandemic keeping people at home and socially distanced for the United States’ Thanksgiving holiday on November 26, the usual high volume of air travel will be significantly lower. But those who do travel are likely to be visiting Mexico.
The insurance company Allianz examined 632,757 flight plans leaving U.S. airports from November 21 to December 1. As the company expected, scheduled travel was down about 75%, in line with other industry estimates. In comparison, the insurer analyzed 2.4 million flight itineraries for the same period last year.
This year, top international destinations were all in Mexico, including Cancún, San José del Cabo, and Puerto Vallarta.
Interest in Mexico helped push two perennial European Thanksgiving entries off the annual list: London and Paris are almost always among the top destinations for Thanksgiving travelers, according to Allianz, but not this year.
“Always a popular destination, Mexico has been a leader in tourism recovery since Covid-19 began — the country’s accessibility and safety protocols, like restricted capacity at resorts to enable proper social distancing, may be helping to drive demand along with the promise of a warm-weather escape,” Allianz said.
However, the official word in the U.S. is don’t travel at all.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation Thursday against traveling for the holiday. The agency told a news briefing that the first danger is infecting relatives during family gatherings.
From there, holiday-related infections could spread through the communities visited.
Previously the agency said holiday travel was risky and urged travelers to check on restrictions at their destination, wear a mask, maintain distance and get a flu shot. Now it says that postponing travel and staying at home is “the best way to protect yourself and others this year …”
Meanwhile, travel to Puerto Vallarta is on the rebound this month.
Allianz counted 710 flights destined for the Jalisco beach destination from the United States during November, compared to 697 in 2019. Currently, 15 U.S. airports have flights to Puerto Vallarta.
The city has also ranked high on the list of destinations sought by Canadians planning travel on Expedia. The tourism industry magazine Periódico Viaje reports that Vallarta is the No. 1 Pacific coast destination for travel in 2021.
It also reported that Air Canada has announced that its luxury product “The Jetz Experience” will operate flights from Vancouver from December 21-28.