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Cancun Loses Majority Of Small Restaurants Over The Past 3 Years

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Perfect Storm on Pandemic Era Shortages And Inflation See Huge Loss In Business In Quintana Roo

The city of Cancun has lost the majority of its small privately owned restaurants over the past three years, according to new information released this week. The loss is due in part to the pandemic and soaring inflation costs across the world.

According to the figures released by Inegi and discussed by the president of the National Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Services (Canaco-Servytur), the region has a dramatic loss in businesses. The news may come as a surprise for many, as Cancun and the rest of the Mexican Caribbean have been the poster child for pandemic tourism success.

But despite Quintana Roo’s soaring popularity, it is clear that the region has still been hit hard. The vast majority of the lost businesses are smaller enterprises, many employing just one or two people; however, these closures are leaving people at a high risk of falling into poverty.

taco stand

One of the issues impacting all restaurants and hotels, regardless of size, is staff shortages. At least three restaurants in the tourist region of Playa del Carmen and Tulum are still not opening as a result of the shortages. How long they can hold out without the necessary staff is unclear. Tourists in the region should react with a degree of empathy for anywhere struggling with the staffing crisis. It is estimated that most businesses in the area are operating with a 30% loss in staff on average. 

empty restaurant

Tourists shouldn’t worry about these being anything related to the actual Covid infection. While a positive test may prevent a few workers from appearing at work for the moment, the bulk of the shortages stems from the high volume of skilled workers that found new employment elsewhere in Mexico when the pandemic shut down the planet.

Inflation has also caused major problems for many businesses. Smaller restaurants in particular have been plagued by the huge increases to basic products like tortillas-tough for such an important ingredient in the region.

tacos on a plate

Shortages aren’t the only issue facing restaurants in the area. Organized crime has been targeting businesses, especially new restaurants and bars, for protection rackets and other illegal systems. Many establishments have been attacked in recent months, and others have closed in fear for the welfare and safety of their customers and staff.

senor frogs cancun

One particularly shocking incident a few months ago saw multiple bars and restaurants attacked in a single night. The attacks left at least three people dead and many businesses with extensive damage. Organized crime has soared in recent years along with the popularity of the region. Sadly, tourists have increased the value of the drug market, drawing gangs from other regions to Cancun. While the intimidation is likely to continue, tourists in the hotel zone in particular, have no reason to worry.

Cancun still has a huge selection of restaurants available for visitors, from high-end fine dining to grab-and-go local food; there is something for everyone. At least five restaurants in Cancun have over a thousand five star ratings on Trip Advisor, while a number are particularly great for family dining.

Some of the best hotels in the area make it easy to eat in. Some, like the new Hilton, have as many as thirteen restaurants on site, boasting everything from sushi to steakhouses. Going local is a great idea too. 

taco restaurant

Helping keep smaller businesses afloat is a wonderful thing to strive for, and grabbing a taco at a local joint in the downtown area or beyond can be a wonderful chance to experience some authentic Mexican culture, something that might sometimes be lacking in the hotel zone.

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Friday 2nd of September 2022

I think it's also due to the All inclusive hotels, don't you think?