Social distancing was one of the recommendations that authorities worldwide gave out to the population when COVID-19 hit. What better way to social distance than being on a yacht in the middle of the ocean? Ironically the pandemic years mainly 2020, and 2021 saw a massive increase in the number of large yachts that docked in Cancun marinas. The pre-pandemic numbers of large yachts arriving to Cancun were rather low. In 2019 only a bit over 30 foreign boats arrived at Cancun docks throughout the whole year.
It’s important to point out that this number contemplates the foreign vessels that arrived to Cancun. That’s not to say that only 30 boats were ever at a Cancun marina at any given time during 2019. There are a multitude of larger boats that call Cancun home. In just the first few months of 2022 over 60 foreign yachts have made their way to Cancun docks.
If the numbers continue to trend in that direction that can lead to record-breaking numbers of large yachts reaching this part of the Riviera Maya. As many experts have predicted the tourism sector in Cancun may not only see a year of recovery in 2022, but actually a year of exponential growth.
Local Authorities Are Keen To Promote This Type of Tourism
Local associations that promote this type of tourism are hoping that the number of large boats arriving to the area continues to increase. There’s a big reason for this. Yacht tourism typically leaves a big wake of cash to the local economy. The president of the Nautical Association of Quintana Roo, Francisco Fernandez Millan, explained the importance of this type of tourism. Giving out estimates on how much one large boat could contribute to the local tourism industry.
According to Fernandez Millan a 15-day stay of a large boat in a Cancun marina could mean an injection of around 300 thousand dollars to the local economy. This is an estimate that takes into account the amount that the yacht owner has to pay to leave the vessel docked in the local marina. Also, the price tag contemplates all of the spending that the crew has to make when it comes to meals, and other necessities. Fuel prices are also included in this estimate. Fernandez Millan claims that a 6-month stay by one of these large yacht can generate up to a million dollars for the local economy.
Promoting Yacht Tourism Throughout The Entire Caribbean Region
One of the best things about yacht tourism is that travelers that arrive to the region via a yacht tend to visit other local regions. Fernandez Millan mentioned that the arrival of a yacht typically doesn’t just benefit the local Cancun economy. These travelers tend to visit Tulum, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, and Isla Mujeres as part of their journey as well. Most of the tourists that are arriving to Cancun through this method of transport are American.
The association is looking to better promote the area for travelers from other nationalities. In doing so they are looking to form a partnership with folks in Panama, and the Dominican Republic. This to try and form a promotional alliance. To try and get people who are navigating through the Caribbean to stop at all of these ports. Fernandez Millan had this to say about the potential alliance,
“The idea is to get people to visit the 3 countries, (Mexico, Panama, and The Dominican Republic). We want to establish somewhat of a circuit, or synergie group.”
Perhaps one of the reasons why boats are choosing Cancun to dock is because of the lax COVID protocols. The numbers may decrease as more and more countries soften up their COVID protocols.
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