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Cancun Breaks All Previous Tourism Records As Destination Soars In Popularity

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A strong winter holiday travel season helped lift passenger counts at Cancun International Airport to more than three million passengers for the month of December.

It brought the total for the year to more than 32.75 million airport travelers.

International Tourists Increase in Cancun

During the month of December, the number of international passengers almost increased double digits for the month compared to the year ago period.

Beautiful Beachfront Resorts in Cancun, Mexico

More than two million international visitors used Cancun International Airport in December. This was a 9.3 percent increase over the same numbers for 2022.

This brought the total for 2023 to 20.91 million international passengers which was a 6.5 percent increase over the counts for 2022 when 19.6 million tourists visited.

The real question is what happens when Tulum International Airport officially opens for arrivals from the United States in March. Will that traffic be split with Cancun, or will it be an incremental increase in travelers?

Only time will tell.

Beautiful View of Tulum Ruins and the Beach in Tulum, Mexico

Meanwhile, the number of domestic travelers to Cancun fell 8.5 percent in December relative to the year ago period.

The growth in total year numbers outpaced the totals for international with a 10.6 percent gain, although from a smaller level.

What it Means for Travelers

It’s another strong year for visitors to Cancun, Tulum, Merida, and other hotspots in the Mexican Caribbean.

While some travel experts have said that the political elections around the world this year might slow the increase in visitors to the area, travelers should still expect a lot of people to enjoy the sun, surf, and sand in the region.

Playa Paraiso, Cancun on Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico

Because of this, travelers should anticipate that the rates for hotel rooms and flights should pretty much be steady compared with last year. Those hoping for the area to get cheaper as a more budget beach destination will most likely be disappointed this year.

Travelers need to book their reservations in advance to lock in the best resort and hotel prices, especially for the peak spring and winter holiday travel seasons in the Mexican Caribbean.

Most likely, it will be another record year for travelers visiting Cancun, as well as other Mexican Caribbean destinations.

Cancun Airport Departure Board

Visitors Holding Steady

Despite rising rates in the United States and a slowing economy, travelers still flocked to the beach resort destinations in the Mexican Caribbean.

Additional flights coming to Cancun, Tulum, and Merida this year should help make the area even more accessible for travelers looking to spend their vacation getaway in the area.

Canada-based Lynx Air will start flights from Toronto-Pearson to Cancun next month. Additionally, Southwest Airlines will launch its service from Orlando in June.

Strong International Growth for Mérida

Mérida continues to be a growth story among airports in the Mexican Caribbean.

Merida sign outside famous church in Merida

While the numbers are just a fraction of the totals for Cancun, international passenger growth at the airport in Mérida was 16.8 percent in December to more than 30,000 passengers.

Nearly 324,000 international passengers used the airport in Mérida during 2023, an increase of 20.8 percent.

For the entire year, more than 3.67 million travelers used the airport in Mérida, which was close to record levels for the airport in a single year. It was a more than 19 percent increase over 2022.

Colorful Buildings on a Street in Merida, Mexico

Mixed Results in Cozumel

Looking at Cozumel, a 25.8 percent traffic increase in the December winter holiday travel period flipped the total for the year positive with a 2.1 percent gain for the entire year.

International visitors using the airport in Cozumel fell year-over-year by 3.3 percent.

Punta Langosta Cozumel, with palm trees, shopping mall and lighthouse

Meanwhile, the list keeps growing for Tulum with flights from Charlotte, Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, Atlanta, New York-JFK, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Chicago-O’Hare, Houston-Intercontinental, Los Angeles and Newark all set to start this year.

Airlines serving Tulum include American, Delta, JetBlue, Spirit and United.

No new flights have been announced for Cozumel airport.

CANCUN, MEXICO - Unidentified people walking at the enter of Cancun International Airport, Mexico

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