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Global tourism sees a rise in the third quarter and especially in Mexico


After a weak first half of 2021 globally, international tourism recovered during the summer season in the northern hemisphere, boosting third-quarter results. In the third quarter of 2021, tourism increased by 58% compared to the first two quarters of 2021. Mexico was one of the destinations with the most visitors.

We have certainly heard the growing number of tourism here on the Riviera Maya, as well as other popular tourist destinations in Mexico. Mexico technically never closed its borders (for flights). The Riviera Maya and other popular tourist destinations such as Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta were some of the first to really start welcoming tourism in 2020. The number of people coming to Mexico has increased in 2021 and has increased especially in the last quarter of 2020. course.

Many have noticed that it is more difficult to find rents and short and long term rental prices have risen, in part due to demand. About 5 months ago we said that if you are planning a trip to Mexico from November to March, book in advance! Many hotels are full. Even when there seem to be many hotels available online, they are often the least desirable hotels or rooms.

Why is Mexico recovering faster than other countries?

Mexico and the Riviera Maya have been popular destinations for many in the United States, Canada and Europe. All of these areas have been at the forefront of vaccines, giving travelers confidence. Mexico has also worked on vaccinating the population. At the end of November 2021, Mexico has completely vaccinated 65 million of its residents, which is 50.04%. A further 12 million have received at least one dose.

Other factors in the increase in tourism in Mexico are:

  • Stimulus checks given to citizens of other countries who gave people cash for extra expenses. Many used the stimulus to go on a trip after skipping a year of travel.
  • The ability of people to work online and remotely has opened up the opportunity for many to come to Mexico. Digital nomads have taken a large chunk of long-term rentals in places like Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Merida.
  • While some of the countries visited by people from Europe, Canada and the United States remained closed or with more restrictions, many began exploring options in Mexico.
  • As people feel safer to travel, we are entering winter in the northern hemisphere. The Riviera Maya offers a year-round summer climate, so this attracts more people to the region.
  • Mexico has worked hard to install security standards. This has not only helped some feel better about travel in the area, but has also mobilized the tourism sector to be well ahead of some countries.

How is tourism going around the world

According to the latest edition of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, the arrivals of international tourists (night visitors) increased by 58% in the period from July to September. compared to the same period in 2020. However, they remained 64% below 2019 levels (prepandemic). Europe recorded the best relative performance in the third quarter, with international arrivals 53% less than in the same three-month period in 2019. In August and September, global arrivals were -63% compared in 2019, the best monthly results since the start of the pandemic.

Between January and September 2021, the arrivals of international tourists from around the world stood at -20% compared to 2020, a clear improvement over the first six months of the year (-54%). In some subregions (Southern and Mediterranean Europe, the Caribbean, North America and Central America) arrivals in fact increased above 2020 levels during the first nine months of 2021. Some islands in the Caribbean and South Asia, together with some small destinations in South and South Asia. According to available data, Mediterranean Europe saw its best performance in the third quarter of 2021, with arrivals close to or sometimes exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “The data for the third quarter of 2021 are encouraging. However, arrivals are still 76% below pre-pandemic levels and results in the various global regions remain unequal. ” Given the increase in cases and the emergence of new variants, he added that “we can not lower our guard and we must continue our efforts to ensure equal access to vaccines, coordinate travel procedures, make use of digital vaccination certificates to facilitate mobility and continue to support the sector “.

The increase in demand was driven by increased traveler confidence amid rapid progress in vaccinations and reduced entry restrictions to many destinations. In Europe, Covid’s European digital certificate has helped facilitate free movement within the European Union, releasing significant demand accumulated after many months of restricted travel. Arrivals from January to September 2021 were only 8% below the same period in 2020, but still 69% below 2019. The Americas recorded the strongest entry results between January and September, with arrivals 1% more than in 2020, but still 65% below 2019 levels. The Caribbean recorded the strongest results by subregion, with arrivals more than 55% compared to the same period in 2020, although still 38% below 2019.

Slow and uneven pace of recovery

Despite the improvement observed in the third quarter of the year, the pace of recovery remains slow and uneven across regions of the world. This is due to different degrees of travel restrictions, vaccination rates and traveler confidence. While Europe (-53%) and America (-60%) enjoyed relative improvement during the third quarter of 2021, arrivals in Asia and the Pacific fell by 95% compared to 2019, as many destinations went remain closed to non-essential travel. Africa and the Middle East fell by 74% and 81% respectively in the third quarter compared to 2019. Among the largest destinations, Croatia (-19%), Mexico (-20%) and Turkey (-35%) were record the best results. July-September 2021, according to currently available information.

Gradual improvement of income and expenses

International tourism revenue data show a similar improvement in the third quarter of 2021. Mexico recorded the same gains as in 2019! Compare this with Turkey (-20%), France (-27%) and Germany (-37%) recorded comparatively smaller declines than at the beginning of the year. On outbound trips, the results were also moderately better, with France and Germany recording -28% and -33%, respectively, in international tourism spending during the third quarter.

Less tourist but spend more

On a positive note, tourism spending per trip has increased significantly due to large savings and accumulated demand, softening the blow to economies. International revenues went from an average of US $ 1,000 per arrival in 2019 to US $ 1,300 in 2020 and could exceed US $ 1,500 by 2021. However, the increase in spending is also the result of longer stays. , rising transportation and accommodation prices.

We have certainly seen a higher spending on holidays here on the Riviera Maya in 2021. Luxury rents, luxury restaurants, private chefs, delivery services and private transportation to the airport have increased proportionately over the years prior to the pandemic. This has helped Mexico achieve the same revenue as the period before the pandemic during the third quarter of 2021. Thus, even with less tourism, the amount per person increases greatly and balances tourism revenue.

Shopping in Playa del Carmen

Looking ahead

Despite recent improvements, uneven vaccination rates around the world and new strains of Covid-19 could affect the already slow and fragile recovery. The economic tension caused by the pandemic could also weigh on travel demand, exacerbated by the recent rise in oil prices and disruptions in supply chains. According to the latest WTO data, international tourist arrivals are expected to remain below 2019 levels in 2021, a decline similar to that of 2020.

International tourism revenue could reach 700-800 billion US dollars in 2021, a small improvement over 2020, but less than half of the 1.7 billion US dollars recorded in 2019. The economic contribution of tourism is estimated by US $ 1.9 trillion in 2021 (measured in direct gross domestic product of tourism) well below the pre-pandemic value of US $ 3.5 trillion.

The safe resumption of international tourism will continue to depend to a large extent on a coordinated response between countries in terms of travel restrictions, harmonized safety and hygiene protocols and effective communication to help restore consumer confidence. This is especially critical at a time when cases are on the rise in some regions and new variants of Covid-19 are emerging in different parts of the world.

Akumal Beach

This is how the beach looks on a winter day in Akumal.


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