The Mexican Caribbean Is An Increasingly Attractive Option For sun-seeking Brits
Brits are flocking to the Mexican Caribbean as an old favorite Spain becomes increasingly expensive and complicated to navigate. The trend could see a huge shift in Cancun’s demographic for years to come.
Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean have been North American favorites for decades, evident in the five and a half million US citizens that made their way to Quintana Roo in 2021. But the British contingent, although always present has been significantly smaller. The British population has generally favored the likes of Spain and Greece, with the former being the far and away from the most popular option.
Spanish resort towns like Benidorm and Magaluf are virtually taken over by British travelers in peak season, and thousands make the move permanent every year. It’s estimated that over five percent of Benidorm’s residents are British.
But that is all set to change in the face of Brexit red tape, and Cancun looks like it will be on the receiving end of the shift.
Travel agents on both sides of the pond have reported massive surges in British bookings for Quintana Roo- far more than in previous years and before the pandemic. Searches for permanent properties have also skyrocketed suggesting that many may be setting their sights on a permanent transatlantic move.
Spain has been much stricter in its COVID policies than Mexico, evident in the recently extended ban on non-vaccinated travelers. Even a negative COVID test isn’t enough for unvaccinated Brits to enter the country for a vacation. Mexico on the other hand has never stopped visitors from entering the country, even in the most aggressive periods of the pandemic.
The larger problem comes in the form of Brexit. As the UK is no longer a member of the EU, it has lost many of the privileges previously afforded to its citizens. Most recently, Britons living in Spain for more than six months are now unable to use their British driving licenses to drive in the country, causing more frustration for those trying to make the move permanent.
This along with multiple other restrictive factors is causing the transatlantic shift. The British and Mexican governments have just agreed to terms on new trade deals, cutting tariffs on goods from both countries and setting up a strong relationship going forward.
Potential long-term residents can enjoy drastically cheaper real estate prices than in Spain, as Mexico offers far more bang for their buck. Comparable properties in both countries show Mexican costs as much as a third of the price of their Spanish counterparts.
The shift may take a few years to see significant numbers, but the likes of Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen can expect to see a huge uptick in the British population.
The British generally receive far more vacation time than Americans. Full-time workers are legally required to have 28 days of paid time off. Americans on the other hand, have no legal requirement. Most are pleased with ten days a year.
Despite being a far smaller country, the UK could represent a massive market for Cancun and the rest of the state in the coming months and years. The perfect storm of Brexit and long holidays could make them far more valuable on a per head basis than the American crowds, and hotels may have a preference for those traveling from the UK during the peak times.
Cancun has already seen direct flights added from all over the UK, including some lesser-known and smaller airports. Most airports are offering multiple flights a day.
The busy summer period is approaching, again a huge time for the UK to use some of their five weeks of time off. The figures will tell more with time, but Cancun should anticipate something of a British Invasion in the coming years.
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