Over the weekend, we reported that tourists faced over 90 minute wait times at the Cancun airport. An incident that not only caused some distress, but quite a few missed flights. All of this over the fact that immigration services at the Cancun international airport seems to be understaffed. This is not the first time that the issue has come up. However, with the number of total flights at the airport reaching around 600 a day, numbers that eclipse even pre-pandemic levels, it seems clear immigration services have not adjusted to the influx in the number of flights.
The Problem Should’ve Been Solved Already
What the hotels’ association is arguing is that this is essentially an old problem that should’ve been solved already. Back in 2019 with the increase in the number of flights arriving to the airport the secretary of Tourism, Miguel Torruco Marques, pledged that 30 more immigration officers would be incorporated into the rotation at the Cancun airport. This would bring the total number of immigration officers to 100. They are to be on 24-hour shifts. In theory that should’ve fixed the problem.
Jesus Almageur, president of the Hotel Association of the Cancun area thinks that the current issue is that immigration officers don’t seem to be manning their post. This is something that Almageur says that he’s reported to the tourism sub Secretary. Who, is the one that is overseeing this situation. The president of the hotel’s association seems to think that the solution to the issue is rather simple. He mentioned,
It’s very simple, what’s missing is to make sure the remaining modules are covered. That’s what’s missing, that’s why they are there. It’s like the supermarket where you need to cover all of the cash registers.
Where Have The Immigration Officers Gone?
Essentially what the Hotels’ Association is looking for is to apply some pressure to local authorities to keep a better eye on immigration officers. President Almageur literally mentioned that there should be someone at the airport making sure that the immigration officers are showing up to work. To him, the fact that the immigration modules that tourists have to go through upon their arrival, or departure are not fully covered is evidence enough that immigration officers aren’t doing an efficient job.
It was in March 2021 when the tourism Secretary at the federal level committed to making sure that 100 immigration officers were dispatched to the Cancun airport. What the hotels’ association is looking for is just to make sure that the 100 officers are actually there. In fact, there weren’t necessarily calls for an increase in the number of immigration staff in president Alamageur’s presser. He just wants to make sure that the 100 officers are actually on the job!
There Was Also A Commitment To Digitalize The Immigration Process
In the March 2021 meeting the commissioner of the National Immigration Institute also revealed plans to potentially digitalize the immigration process. Hoping that this could make interior airport transit much more fluid for tourists. At the time the national tax registry, and customs agency were set to come up with a plan to digitalize the process within the next two weeks. With the amount of time that has passed since then, and the lines that we continue to see at the Cancun airport it’s safe to say not much progress has been made on that front!
The hotels’ association, though, does believe that this public pressure will have a positive effect. With its president announcing that they expect swifter immigration procedures for tourists as of this weekend. The association seems to believe that if all of the immigration officers assigned to the airport show up to work things will be fine. That remains to be seen at this point.
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