The Mexican Caribbean has done all that it can to protect both travellers and residents throughout the pandemic, implementing a wide array of protocols across its tourism sector. Its efforts have certainly paid off – since reopening to tourism, there has been no reported rise in COVID-19 cases in the region. In this edition of Take Five, we sit down with Elizabeth Cole Guerrero, Executive Director of the Quintana Roo Tourism Board, to discuss what kind of numbers the region is expecting this winter season and what the current vibe is like in its most popular tourist destinations.
1. Quintana Roo’s traffic light system has been widely reported. Can you confirm which stage the region is currently in, and what is open/closed as part of this stage?
The Mexican Caribbean is currently in the yellow phase, allowing for 60% capacity of hotels, restaurants, historical attractions, theme parks, golf courses and other tourist sites. Please visit Traveling Safely to the Mexican Caribbean for more information.
2. Mexico currently doesn’t have any entry requirements for tourists – why do you think this is, when most other countries in the Caribbean have implemented strict protocols such as pre-testing and self-isolation upon arrival?
Mexico is an extensive territory with more infrastructure as well as services to protect the wellbeing of visitors. Hence the country’s epidemiological traffic light system, that is constantly being updated according to each state’s progress.
On another hand, the Mexican Caribbean and its destinations stand out as the first ones in the country to develop a series of protocols and recommendations for the tourism industry known as the ‘Mexican Caribbean Clean & Safe Check Certification,’ resulting in the recognition of said certification by the World Travel & Tourism Council, thus obtaining the ‘Safe Travels’ stamp.
Thanks to its readiness and anticipation, the region was able to move forward with the reopening, and to this date, we have welcomed over 1.8 million tourists with no reported rise in the number of cases in the region ever since.
3. Heading into the winter season, what kind of numbers are you anticipating? And what preparations are you doing in anticipation of increased tourist arrivals?
Over the last few months, destinations have seen a gradual increase in the number of visitors, going from 5-10%, reaching now 40-50% of occupancy levels, respecting at all times the measures taken by the local government. For the winter season we expect to reach the 60% allowed by the traffic light system.
The government recently issued a statement to call for greater precautions and to be more vigilant in order to ensure the correct implementation of the protocols in all the companies working in the tourism industry.
Also, we have noted that there are a few hotel chains with several properties that were not operating yet. But in order to guarantee the safety of its visitors and staff, they are reopening their properties to stay below the permitted occupancy levels.
4. With regard to the Canadian market specifically, what kind of activity are you seeing in terms of arrivals and airlift? And how closely are you working with major airlines to bring airlift back up for the winter season?
We have managed to become the main international sun and beach destination preferred by Canadian citizens. It is the international market that has represented the least loss throughout the year. In fact, Cancun International Airport has displayed a steady increase in air connectivity. Just recently, Air Canada resumed its direct flight to Cozumel from Montreal.
Currently we have flights from Calgary, Toronto and Montreal operated by WestJet, Air Canada, Sunwing and Transat, and statistics show that for the winter season there will be approximately 345,000 available seats for the Canadian market.
5. For travellers who are ready to book and travel right now, can you tell us what the vibe is like in hotspots like Cancun?
Travellers can feel safe in the Mexican Caribbean as our reopening continues to be safely practiced according to international and national sanitary guidelines. From the airport to checking in at the hotel, to restaurants, tours, and every aspect of the vacation experience, travellers will notice social distancing and mandatory mask usage in public spaces, they should expect constant temperature checks and sanitation, assisted buffets or à la carte restaurants with spaced out tables and hotel programs with activities of lower risk, while still experiencing classic Mexican Caribbean hospitality.
The iconic landscape, attractions and infrastructure that have made the destination a favorite of travellers continue today with the health & safety of individuals as the top priority. As socially distanced travel continues, travellers can find solitude, privacy and safety among Cancun’s stunning hotels and activities.
For more information go to https://www.mexicancaribbean.travel/.