The cancun hotel zone near the man made beach area is currently packed. Ever since the spring started, it has consistently seen occupancy rates of around 70%. This weekend many hotels are expected to be at or near full capacity. For hotels in Cancun’s downtown area though, the stats tell a different story.
Over the last 3 day weekend in Mexico that took place in February, hotel zone occupancy rates were around 80%, while the hotels in the Cancun downtown area were below 50% occupancy.
This Easter weekend occupancy rates for downtown hotels in Cancun are still looking well below 50% at best.
Occupancy Rates Also Reflect Negatively On Surrounding Businesses
It’s not just hotels in the city center that are struggling. Since there are less people in the area, restaurants and bars around Cancun’s downtown area have had a tough road to recovery post COVID. The new president of the national chamber of commerce for restaurants and the food industry in general, Julio Villarreal Zapata, talked about his projections for restaurants in Cancun.
Restaurants in the hotel zone are expected to see at least an 80% boost in sales compared to the numbers that they registered in 2021. When you take into account the increase in the number of travelers from 2021 to 2022, an 80% increase in food sales seems like a low end projection. At the same time, Villareal Zapata mentions that restaurants, and bars in the downtown area will only see a 35 to 40% increase in sales through this peak season.
In fact, the downtown area may have to wait until the peak season is over to see an increase in their sales. As many of these places rely on locals for their survival. Locals working in the tourism industry will only get a chance to hit the town after the heavy weeks of work are done. Another issue that Villareal Zapata points out is that although COVID guidelines have eased a bit, and currently allow certain restaurants to operate at an apparent 100% capacity, social distancing rules are still in effect. For many places this only allows them to operate at an 80% capacity when it’s all set and done.
New Hotels Are Still Being Built In The Downtown Area
Even though the current occupancy rates of hotels in the downtown area is not ideal, there are still investors willing to bet on new lodging options. During COVID lockdowns, a new hotel was finished in the area to bring the total number of rooms in the downtown to around 5000. According to Rebeca Bravo president of the local hotels’ committee there’s currently another hotel being built in the area.
The biggest issue for downtown hotels seems to be the lack of business travelers headed to the area. In 2020 downtown hotels estimated that around 70% of the recurring guests that these hotels took in were business travelers. Even though tourism has more or less bounced back from COVID shutdowns, business travel certainly hasn’t seen the same type of recovery.
Not only are new hotels being built in the region, but also, the local hotels committee is still trying to bring in tourists to this part of Cancun. Rebeca Bravo is set to go on tour through South America participating in “tourist caravans”. These are seemingly tourism networking events that are set to take place in Medellin Colombia, and Lima Peru.
Bravo insisted that her organization’s efforts are centered around bringing more tourists to downtown hotels. The end goal of the organization is to break that reliance on business tourism that these hotels have historically had.
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