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Cancun Exceeds Pre-Pandemic Tourist Numbers As One Of The Most Popular Destinations In The World

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January Numbers Edge Out 2019 Figures From The Same Month

Cancun International Airport exceeded pre-pandemic numbers for yet another month in the recovery period since COVID hammered the global tourism industry. The city’s January numbers were higher than January 2019, and only slightly less than 2020.

beach plane

 The figures come from Aeropuertos del Sureste (Asur), the airport operator that currently runs the Cancun airport. The numbers show that almost 2.2 million passengers moved through the airport in the first month of 2022, up a small percentage on the same month three years ago, long before the pandemic took hold.

The newest figures mean that Cancun has enjoyed better figures than pre-pandemic 2019 for approaching six months.

plane refueling

The figures will be welcomed by many in the city after Cancun struggled with a tough month of restrictions, weather problems, and controversy.

Above and beyond anything else, the figures highlight the city’s trajectory. It’s already finding itself at the top of the world’s most popular destinations in high-profile lists from the likes of TripAdvisor. It is possible that Cancun’s numbers could have been even higher without the problems it faced, and as the world opens up further it will be seeking to hold its spot and compete with the likes of Paris and London.

airport tower

The entire state of Quintana Roo is currently under a yellow designation on Mexico’s epidemiological traffic light system, meaning some restrictions are still in place. However, with COVID numbers decreasing after a massive Omicron spike at the start of the year, it’s hoped that the coming weeks will see a further rollback into the green level.

The 2.2 million visitors mentioned earlier were the primary cause for Quintana Roo’s Omicron rates. With so many travelers from across the world honing in on Cancun, a large increase in the infection rate was virtually unavoidable. It is assumed that some tourists canceled their reservations as the level went to orange, but the cancellation rates were not as high as anticipated highlighting the faith in the destination.

tarmac cancun

An unfortunate uptick in gang violence grabbed headlines across the world. The recent double execution at the Hotel Xcaret saw the US and Canada lay travel advisories on Quintana Roo and Mexico as a whole, but most tourists appeared to keep the incident in context, and once again, numbers remained relatively stable. The vast majority of the violence is isolated to organized crime and rarely affects tourists.

checkin cancun

The addition of the Tulum Airport in 2023 will be a welcome addition for the area and tourists. Currently, the Cancun airport serves the bulk of the main tourist spots in the region, meaning those heading to Tulum or beyond need to grab buses or rent cars to get to their location. The new airport will free up even more space for flights, offering Tulum and Cancun the ability to grow further.

The potential for competitive flights in both airports will hopefully continue to make Cancun one of the most desired destinations on the planet.

family in airport

The coming months will be interesting for the city, as the rest of the world is beginning to open up and relax restrictions. The European market will be tough for Cancun to keep a hold of, as the prospect of a long flight is off-putting for many. But the American and Canadian population should be cemented as flights continue to be added from all across the continent.

With that said, direct flights are running from Spain, the UK, and even further beyond daily, offering more options than ever before for travelers to head to Cancun. Many of the new routes, like Warsaw and Barcelona, are the first flights linking those destinations to the Mexican Caribbean, representing a whole new market. As the COVID situation continues to improve, expect the crowds to continue throughout the year. 

cancun airport planes

Those traveling to Cancun should still keep on top of any changes to the restrictions that may take place. Announcements on traffic light levels are every Thursday with the new level coming into effect on the following Monday.

Read More

Cancun Will Remain At The Yellow Risk Level For February 14 To 20 As Omicron Cases Continue To Drop

CDC Says U.S. Travelers Will Still Need To Follow These Rules Returning Home From Cancun

Cancun Expects At Least 20,000 Spring Breakers At The End Of February

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