Cementing its status as a tourist-friendly country in spite of Omicron, Mexico is now one of the most visited destinations on the planet and is on track to become a world favorite this year.
Unlike most nations in the old continent or the US itself, which remained off-limits to foreign arrivals for well over a year, Mexico flung the doors open and required very few, if anything at all, of inbound travelers.
As it turns out, the unusual Mexican approach to crisis seems to have paid off.
Open Border Policy Boosts Traveler Confidence And Proves Crucial To Mexico’s Recovery
In a year when nations, more commonly than not, shut down entirely and further hindered the recovery of an already heavily-impacted aviation sector, Mexico managed to reach 95% of its pre-pandemic passenger levels.
The country posted an extraordinary 31 million international arrivals in 2021, or 28.1% more than the same period in 2020. Simultaneously, several other countries registered downward trends in the aviation sector, especially across the pond.
To draw a comparison, the UK closed 2021 with 71% less international flights than in 2019, the year before the virus emerged. This goes to show that, when it comes to boosting traveler confidence, any restrictive measures imposed on visitors do matter.
Recently, all four UK nations have recently announced an extensive array of measures aimed at halting the spread of Omicron, and ones that are sure to impact U.S. and Canada passport holders flying to Britain.
Mexico, on the other hand, has yet to announce a single Omicron-related change, with American cruises still permitted to dock at Mexican ports even when outbreaks are reported among crew.
Mexico The Top Tourist Destination In 2022?
Following such impressive figures, Tourism Secretary Miguel Torruco stated that Mexico’s tourism sector is experiencing a “strong recovery”, and that the vaccine roll out has played an important part in achieving those numbers.
According to data shared by Mexico’s Federal Agency (dependencia federal) tourism comprised 7.1% of Mexico’s GDP in 2021, up from 6.7% in 2020. Additionally, it is now expected to account for 8.3% of Mexico’s economy in the months to come.
Domestically, intercity travel has also re-bounced from its 2020 lows. In the first 11 months of 2021, Mexico experienced a pronounced increase of 58.2% in domestic travelers.
Drawing attention to the American participation in Mexico’s aviation recovery, Torruco noted that, in October 2021, American Airlines transported 21.2% more passengers compared to October 2020, with United Airlines also reporting a 12.7% increase.
With today’s trends, the Mayan homeland is already one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and could be on course to claim the number one spot in the pandemic era.
If current arrival numbers are anything to go by, the chances of Mexico snatching that crown are substantial.
What Does Mexico’s Strong Tourism Recovery Mean For Americans Visiting?
Americans flying to Cancun for a beach break, or hoping to stroll the charming streets of Puerto Vallarta on a cruise stopover this season should welcome the news that the US market is markedly important for Mexico’s tourism recovery.
As a result, Mexico has no plans of shutting down to Americans anytime soon. With direct flights between major US and Mexican cities, connectivity between the neighboring nations is set to be strengthened in a world where other countries make it more difficult for Americans to visit.
As a matter of fact, booked seats on airlines flying to Mexico in 2022 have already surpassed pre-pandemic figures by by 22.5%, proving the spread of Omicron does not seem to be diverting most travelers.
Tourism Secretary Torruco again highlighted that, between January and December of this year, 190,513 flights are already scheduled to land in Mexico, meaning bookings are still going strong in spite of Covid fears.
Currently, no PCR testing, vaccination proof, or mandatory quarantine are expected of travelers arriving in Mexico, although most are still required to fill out a Health Declaration Form before boarding their flight.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com