It was a banner year for passenger traffic at Mérida International Airport. More than three million travelers used the airport in 2023, which is considered a new record for visitors at the main airport in the Yucatan.
Overall, there were five different reasons why Mérida is growing in popularity with travelers to the Mexican Caribbean.
Busy Winter Holiday Travel Season
During the peak winter holiday travel season alone, there were more than 346,000 passengers arriving at the airport. This was a new monthly record for the airport.
That number is only expected to increase this year with the start of the new Maya Train service in Mérida and easier access to towns and tourist attractions in the northern Yucatan peninsula, in addition to the Cancun region.
Tourism Guides Spotlighting Mérida
Towards the end of the year, several popular travel publications called Mérida one of their top travel destinations for 2024.
Highlighting everything from cenotes and beaches to the rich Mayan cultural amenities, Mérida has been spotlighted as the key vacation getaway in the Mexican Caribbean for 2024.
Local hotels have seen an increase in bookings due to the travel magazine spotlights. In fact, several properties are reporting that advance reservations are already coming in for the popular spring break travel period.
Increase in Air Connections
Mérida was a beneficiary of several new flights and routes during 2023. The airport not only increased flights to domestic markets, but the increase in the safety rating of Mexican airlines by the United States Federal Aviation Administration is expected to set up a strong 2024.
Three nonstop flight destinations are coming to Mérida from the United States this year. Aeroméxico Connect will resume its flights from Atlanta in March. Meanwhile, Viva Aerobus will target Florida with new flights from both Orlando and Miami starting in July.
Promotion of Yucatan Tourism
The State of Yucatan, along with several of the local tourism agencies, coordinated efforts with many of the resorts and hotels in the area to promote the Yucatan and Mérida as a premier tourist destination to the United States.
The campaign focused on the small scale boutique resort experiences available in the region along with the history and environmental sustainability of the region.
This campaign resonated with visitors and complemented the all-inclusive resort promotion by the other regions in the Mexican Caribbean.
High Prices in Cancun
With peak holiday room rates approaching $500 per night in the Cancun area, several budget-oriented travelers have opted to instead focus on visiting Mérida as a more value travel destination.
While they may not have the same level of amenities of the resorts in the Cancun area, hotels in Mérida offer a more traditional feel that many visitors to Mexico are seeking in their vacation getaway.
This was a key message that was used in the advertising to promote Mérida and the State of Yucatan as a travel destination for visitors from all over the world.
What Travelers Need to Know
Tourists planning a vacation getaway to Mérida this year should make their reservations well in advance of their travel date to get the most affordable rates and best hotel location.
As the town expands in popularity, budget-oriented tourists should expect price increases in what was once considered a relatively affordable part of the Mexican Caribbean.
The additional tourism advertising, along with the spotlight of the Mayan culture, food and great amenities in the area, should make Mérida a very popular travel destination for 2024.
The addition of new flights to the United States in March and July will only increase the demand for hotel rooms in the area and could lead to price increases for travelers.
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