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Expert Travel Group Says Tulum Airport Should Not Be Built

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After the pandemic, the traveling industry is again on the rise, with the Mayan Riviera bouncing back with a steady and impressive recovery. More tourists than ever are visiting areas just south of Cancun, like the ultra-popular vacation destination Tulum, which is why investors want to give passengers direct access to the trendy beach town. However, experts say there are some dire concerns that could impact the completion of Tulum International Airport that need to be looked at first.

construction on the tulum airport

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is concerned with Tulum’s low hotel numbers compared to tourist destinations such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen. The construction of Tulum’s airport is near the Cancun international airport, which will create an unattractive situation because of proximity. The interlinking of the two airports can pose a significant risk to the market. IATA also wants to know whether Tulum airport may not generate its demand considering that Cancun airport is just a few hours away.

What Is The Situation Going On With Tulum Airport?

In Tulum, several studies and surveys were conducted, almost a year away from the planned completion of the airport. Reports emerged from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) claiming that there were a few potential red flags for this project. According to them, there were issues with this initiative that need to be considered.

Tulum ruins

The report was delivered to the Secretary of National Defense, but the report details were later released to the public through hacking. It claimed that Tulum is home to 10,800 hotel rooms, which is far less than Cancun and Playa del Carmen (below 42,000 and 44,000 rooms, respectively).

International Air Transport Association (IATA) also mentioned details including risks posed by the current road system of Tulum. According to the IATA report, the access roads from the city to the airport are quite problematic. The roads that lead to the terminal should be expanded. Otherwise, there will be increased gridlock.

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A great emphasis was also placed on the design and architecture of the Tulum airport. The results found the current design may pose safety risks for the domestic departures and arrivals section.

What Does This Mean For Travelers?

The future of Tulum International Airport is currently unclear, and it is uncertain when or if the construction will be completed. This puts travelers in a difficult situation as they make plans to directly visit the area.

Will This Operation Of Tulum Airport Work?

After the start of the Mayan train, there was a positive and better chance to handle the movement of travelers. The beginning of the train could be expected near 2023, and it will accommodate more traveler demand. Currently, Tulum airport was estimated to accommodate 17.2 million passengers, but still, the biggest and main airport in the area will still be Cancun international.

For the airport to see the light, some believe that Tulum has to offer lower fares than Cancun with a better service to its travelers. There should be enough check-in counters to maintain the demand and a good selection of services like restaurants and lounges for departing passengers. Moreover, if they want to compete, the airport needs to work with advanced technology that can positively impact the passenger experience, like kiosks with self-check facilities and more efficient security lines.

Tulum’s airport has long been a dream of many visitors. It would make things simpler and accommodate travel plans to the area, which many tourists were looking forward to. There is still great optimism that the completion of Tulum International Airport will soon be realized with the hopes of increased hotels and resort development.

The shortage of hotels is one of the biggest problems that makes Tulum airport unattractive according to IATA.

Let us know your thoughts on Tulum’s International Airport situation. Was this something you were looking forward to?

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Thursday 20th of October 2022

I think that the thought of the airport seems like a good idea, but the allure to a lot of people is the quaintness or more relaxed vibe in tulum. With the airport this would go away as it make the area much more accessible. I think the better option is to not do the airport but keep the train as the best public option for a quick trip from the Cancun airport to the tulum area.


Sunday 16th of October 2022

We are frequent tourist to Mexico, we are thrilled about the new airport and train! Theres less traffic in Tulum because of the distance from the Cancun airport! We would much prefer the Tulum area! Please continue with the airport and train plans!


Sunday 16th of October 2022

I for one am looking forward to to it. Sometimes Cancun airport is just too busy. With some recent security changes in Cancun it's better. But just yesterday I was watching as 3 flights leaving Cancun within 10-15 minutes of each other all going to Toronto. All 737s (Swoop, Westjet, Sunwing) if the flights were full that's just 600 people right there for a single destination. There is so much flight Traffic from Toronto, Kitchener, Hamilton, soon London. I think for the Ultra low cost carriers like Spirit, Frontier, Swoop, Flair it's a nice way to differentiate themselves from competition or mainline carriers. Playa del Carmen is 50 mins from the Cancun airport and only 60 min from Tulum Airports. I think IATA is just being a bit dramatic. If there's a flight going from where I am to either Tulum or Cancun and the pricing is right and schedule works for me then I have no qualms about either airport. As for more lounges and restaurants let me say I don't care. I go to the airport to catch flights or I arrive at the airport on a plane and I immediately leave after clearing customs and grabbing a bag if I have one. I don't hang out at the airport if they have a place for a snack or even a small bodega I don't care. I'm all for options back in Canada there's 4 airports within 1 hour of my house that fly to Cancun if that splits and is Cancun or Tulum I'm fine. I just want to have an efficient airport experience having a second option works great for me.