Occupancy Below 70% But Outlook Is Still Good
Cancun Hotels registered a relatively significant drop in occupancy over the past week. For the first time in months, accommodations found themselves under 70% full.
Several factors have been attributed to the drop, but the outlook remains positive despite this. In fact, it still remains the highest occupancy level in the country.
Firstly, the time of year generally does mean a slight drop in occupancy. Weekends may be busier, but with many people back at work after the winter break, vacations are much less common. Considering this figure, just under 60% already seems positive. The winter break saw literally millions of visitors flood into Cancun and those rates are virtually impossible to keep up for extended periods of time.
The success of the winter season has been the biggest factor in the unfortunate spike in COVID cases. Mexico’s loose restrictions mean that travelers did not need to test or be vaccinated before boarding a plane to Cancun. This fact alone increased the infection rate exponentially, and a similar trend to that seen in the United States followed.
With the increased infections, came restrictions. Several festivals were canceled in the Cancun region as the rates increased. But major drops in arrivals were not seen. Some tourists did stay away, but the bulk of those with changed plans chose to rebook their vacations for a later date instead of canceling fully. The majority appeared undeterred from Cancun.
The yellow light designation initially suggested that bars and nightclubs were to close, but updates to the allowed activities list saw the same establishments remain open albeit with limited capacity. Most hotels in the area remained fully open, and many were given special permission to keep a higher capacity than officially listed by the government.
Even as the level descended once more to Orange on the Government’s epidemiological traffic light system, similar trends were seen. Some full cancellations, but mainly rebooking and date shifts. Unfortunate timing saw the same restrictions happen while a cold front dragged South from the United States bring some inclement weather to the typically sunny spot.
Street vendors and those working on the beach found this to be a tougher situation, and some restaurants still struggling with staff shortages reported low takings for the week.
Arguably the most globally noticed incident affecting numbers in Cancun and Quintana Roo has been the uptick in gang violence. Several tragic incidents occurred in late 2021 involving the death of two tourists. The violence in October did little to impact tourist numbers. The figures actually rose in the wake of the incident.
The gang violence culminated just weeks ago when two men were executed in broad daylight at the Hotel Xcaret. The event grabbed international headlines, prompting some fear from potential visitors. However, the revelation that the two men involved were members of a Canadian-Vietnamese crime syndicate helped strengthen the understanding that tourists rarely ever find themselves hurt in these situations.
The violence does remain a valid concern for many, and even the stationing of a new National Guard branch named the Tourist Security Battalion will not appease everyone. It is likely that some of the loss in numbers can be attributed to the fear generated by the violence.
But compared to many other cities in Mexico, and the world, Cancun is most definitely not struggling. Many cities in Asia remain completely shut to outside tourism, and Europe’s constant shifting in regulations has been a huge proponent in Quintana Roo’s meteoric rise over the past year.
Even if a red level is announced, it is unlikely that many hotels will struggle too much, especially considering that so many have the ability to take in more than the official capacity. Current reports from Cancun and other areas suggest that bars and restaurants are looking full, and people are enjoying themselves.
Anyone hoping to visit Cancun in the near future is strongly advised to check in on regulations before departing as rules can change swiftly.
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