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Cancun Was The Second Most Visited Destination In The World For 2021

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The Mexican Caribbean City Beat Out The Likes Of Paris And New York

Cancun is finishing the year on a high after being announced as the second most popular destination in the world for 2021.

cancun from sky

The ranking stems from a statistical report compiled by Forward Keys, who track airline and tourism trends in real time.

The top 20 is an insightful look into what has been a turbulent year for the tourism industry. Although drastically more successful than 2020, when the sector virtually shut down for a year, the absence of some typically high ranking countries and the rise of others could be a glimpse of years to come. It remains to be seen if many of the destinations, including Cancun, can capitalize on the growth shown this year.


Cancun fell in behind Dubai, which successfully held its top spot from 2019. It’s important role as a business hub combined with a steadily growing leisure tourism industry has allowed it a stronger year than most since its reopening back in August 2020. Low infection numbers, and high vaccination rates make the Middle Eastern destination a good option for many travelers.

But Cancun didn’t even appear in the top twenty back in 2019, and its meteoric rise has planted it at the center of the tourist industry worldwide. Airlines across the US and now Europe are scrambling to send new direct flights to the city, and hotels, both high end and budget, are moving in in droves.

cancun resort

Mexico has the power of freedom tilting success in its favor. Relaxed COVID rules, and no entry barriers have made it a no-brainer for many American travelers seeking sun and sand. But action yearning Europeans are being swayed across the Atlantic too. With many of the European hotspots still closed, restricted, or offering a barrier to reentry, the transatlantic trip is looking more attractive despite the distance.

Those heading to Cancun over what is set to be one of the busiest in history should be prepared.

It’s Going to be packed

The state of Quintana Roo is expecting 6.1 million tourists in the first four months of 2022. That’s a lot of people, even when spread across the whole state.


Hotels are anticipating almost 100% capacity over the winter season, meaning you might be fighting for elbow room at the resort bar. Expect beaches to be extremely busy, and restaurants to be running at full tilt during your time there.

There’s new hotels popping up

With the massive uptick in tourism, big hotel brands are seeing the potential for new accommodations in the region. Hilton just returned to Cancun after a ten year absence, and are planning another seven properties in the next year and a half ranging from high end luxury all-inclusive, to budget friendly hotels. 

cancun street

Flights are running from everywhere

Across the US, airlines are dropping domestic routes like flies. If you live in a small city in the US, it’s probably going to be easier flying to Cancun than some nearby hubs.

Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but the major carriers like American and Delta are all aligning their sights on Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean. Budget carrier Frontier, however is leading the charge, adding flights from all over the US.


European carriers like Aeroflot and Iberia have added itineraries to Cancun too, with some big hubs like Barcelona offering daily flights to the city. The Cancun airport has broken its own daily operations record four times in the last week.

Expect the airports to be packed, and taxi fares to skyrocket.

Everything is still green lit

Mexico deals with its COVID strategy by assigning each state a traffic light color. Red, Orange, Yellow, or green. Red would mean the state is heavily restricted and only essential activities are allowed while green allows things to run at full capacity, although still promoting good sanitary protocols.

cancun airport

Currently, the vast majority of states including Cancun’s state of Quintana Roo, are under a green light designation. However, with great numbers comes greater possibility of an outbreak. Omicron is looming over the industry, and with a lot of unknowns, the Governor has stressed respect for the protocols from tourists and locals alike. If  significant rise in infection was to occur, a regression to yellow would be possible.

Read More

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This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Tuesday 21st of December 2021

With low vaccination rate, Mexico will be safe from Omicron. Cancun is proof that tourists are looking for places with freedom rather than fascism.


Thursday 23rd of December 2021

@Margareta C, beautiful way to put it! Had the pleasure of visiting the first week of December


Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

@john, It's obvious Margareta lives here& you don't. I live in Cancun, very high vaxx rate, very few antivax conspiracy theorists...


Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

@Christian, You are truly an ignorant antivaxer spreading lies. Mexico is totally opposite to your vile statement.


Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

@Margareta C, Cancun has a high vacc rate. I don't know what you're smoking.


Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

@Christian, bingo.