This week, a report published by the Mexican Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR) found that tourists visiting Cancun spend almost 150% more on food, accommodation and entertainment than they did in 2021. Many believe this rise in costs is due to the reopening of various tourist attractions this year, as many Covid-19 restrictions have now been relaxed. However, as inflation has become a problem throughout Quintana Roo, and hotel occupancy has shot through the roof, it is clear to see that the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions is not the only contributing factor to Cancun’s rise in prices.
The report found that the average visitor in 2022 spent USD $759.12 throughout the duration of their trip, compared to spending just USD $304.12 in 2021. This is partially due to an inflation rate of 7.55% this year, which has increased the general cost of tourist-frequented restaurants, nightclubs, aquatic activities and hotels.
Last month, numerous Cancun restaurants proposed they would increase prices by over 10% by the end of this year in light of global inflation, as the price of their products and labour has increased.
A rise in hotel occupancy is also to blame for the rise in tourist expenses in Cancun. Before the summer vacation period even began, hotel occupancy was at 82%, as people were desperate to visit the Mexican Caribbean after a harsh winter. Experts put this down to an increase in ‘revenge travel’, where individuals are now beginning to travel as much as possible after being stuck indoors during the pandemic. Many hotels are now completely booked for the summer season, with some only showing vacancies from September onwards. It goes without saying that any last-minute accommodation bookings will be highly expensive.
A global rise in fuel costs is also affecting the price of flights to and from Cancun. In June of this year, gasoline cost USD $1.07 per litre. Whilst this was a slight decrease from May’s gasoline cost of USD $1.11 per litre, it is still a high price to pay. These rising costs also affect transport on the ground in Cancun, including rental cars and tourist buses.
Whilst tourists are paying more money than last year to access services in Cancun, the high inflation rates are preventing hoteliers, restaurant owners and entertainers from making an adequate amount of money. According to the report, the average costs of food in Quintana Roo have increased by 81%, with transportation increasing by 63%, accommodation by 32%, and entertainment services by 27%.
However, many tourists visiting Cancun and its surrounding areas seem willing to pay more for their trip – as long as it brings them an experience of the highest quality. This statement is supported by Jose Silva Bastos, a research professor at Anahuac University:
“They [tourists] pay for an experience. Even 42% of this year’s respondents said they spent much more than they had planned and still feel it was worth it”.
Whilst this does mean that a trip to Cancun is now more expensive than last year, the increase in price is in line with the current global trend of inflation. This had led numerous financial experts in the region to conclude that the increase in the price of tourist-related activities is necessary to achieve a sufficient profit margin for the city of Cancun.
Even though vacation costs are rising, Cancun is still one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in the world. With a multitude of new hotels and attractions being built over this summer and the never-ending demand for sun, surf and sand, it is highly unlikely that rising prices will deter travellers from visiting.
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