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How Mexico became the first country to reach pre-pandemic tourism levels

Tourism in Mexico has stood out in various ways during the pandemic. As one of the first countries to relax foreign entry rules, it became both a final destination and also a transit destination for travelers who wanted to go to the United States but needed to quarantine in a nearby destination.  mexico tourism

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This fact and other factors – like borders opening early and a stronger hospitality sector – made Mexico the first country to exceed the levels of tourism activity observed before the pandemic, according to the Skift Recovery Index, an index in which Amadeus participates. Mexico’s case can, in fact, teach some lessons and help other countries that want to recover tourism faster.

Additional data from Amadeus reinforces this promising news. In the third quarter, air searches to Mexico were 109% higher than in the same period of 2020, one of the highest increases seen around the globe, especially among countries with a large volume of travelers.

Cancun is the destination that currently attracts the most tourists, even more than the capital Mexico City, and showing growth from the country’s average compared to the previous year: 130%. The third, fourth and fifth position among the most searched cities in the country were for Guadalajara, San José del Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. The city with the highest year-over-year growth in searches was Mérida (165%).

In absolute terms of the most searched routes, the leader is New York-Cancun, registering a 109% growth in searches in the third quarter of 2021, compared to the same period of 2020. The “top 5” is completed by New York-Mexico City, Mexico City-Cancun, Bogota-Mexico City, and Chicago-Cancun. Among these, the one with the highest growth was the route between the Colombian capital and its Mexican counterpart: 384%.

Of course 2020 was a year of crisis and we know that there is still a way to go for full industry  recovery, but these numbers show that it is possible to see an improvement in the level of confidence of travelers and companies to accelerate the recovery and modernization of the industry. These numbers show that tourists all around the world are willing to travel and maybe only waiting for clearer policies and/or technologies on borders and health to book their tickets again.

It is interesting to note that the air search data above does not even reflect the fastest growing sector in the travel industry these days. The Skift Recovery Index is built from several data points, such as GDP, hospitality, car rentals, and traveler confidence. In the case of Mexico, the airline sector is still roughly 20 percent below 2019 levels. However, the hotel industry has already outperformed the pre-pandemic comparison by more than 20 percentage points.


So, how did Mexico manage this and how can other destinations replicate this success? mexico tourism

One of the pillars of Mexico´s recovery is the diversification and strength of the Hospitality sector, globally recognized as the first tourism sub-segment to recover. Besides being home to many reputed brands in places like Cancun, its hotel chains are among the ones that invest more in tech. In the middle of the pandemic, Grupo Posadas strengthened its relationship with Amadeus to attract international guests through digital media campaigns and other tools.

With a robust and multifaceted return, Mexico’s travel industry is already offering highly personalized services, with its travel agencies acting as travel advisors and ensuring that the passenger experience is as seamless as possible. This, in the current pandemic times when information is crucial, has proven to be key for its recovery. Part of this success has been driven by investments in technology, to reap the benefits of the digital transformation.

To ensure that Mexico’s travel industry continues to be a success story around the world, and also an example for other countries willing to make their travel industries stronger and more resilient in the future, agencies also must respond to the demands and speed that the industry asks for. This requires training and transforming agents into consultants, but also the use of robust technological tools for both bookings and data, in addition to the growing usage of automation concepts. At Amadeus, this would include Selling Platform Connect and Amadeus Agency Insight.

Lastly, agencies can make the most of each sale generated by ensuring that every air transaction is accompanied by hotels, cars or attractions, and maximizing the revenue generated with each client. Given the faster recovery of the hospitality sector, travel agents can support this growth in demand by cross-selling, which will help improve their own cash flow in these still challenging times. mexico tourism

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