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Why This Paradise Beach Destination Just Broke Its All-Time Tourism Record Again

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What's left to say about the most popular destination in Mexico? There has to be something…

Oh, that's right. There are millions of things to talk about. Like the fact that Cancun has yet again broken all-time tourism records as 2023 came to a close.

While tourists either hit the beach or sat on their resort balconies watching fireworks on New Year's Eve, Cancun was celebrating for a whole other reason.

aerial shot of cancun resort

Since 2019, Cancun has continuously brought in millions of more tourists year after year. Well, minus a couple of years we're all trying to forget about…

With 16.5 million vacationers in 2019, the new benchmark after a record 2023 is now 20.9 million. That's right, another 4 million visitors fell in love with Cancun between 2019 and 2023.

Cancun has been world-renowned as a beautiful beach destination for decades, so what is it that brings in an additional 4 million tourists in a relatively short span?

Perhaps, more importantly, what's next for Cancun?

Is Cancun Too Good To Be True?

The reality is many popular destinations lose their luster over time. Not every place can keep up the hype.

beach resorts in Cancun

Take Acapulco, for example. Once a mega-popular getaway with ringing endorsements from celebrities, the beach resort town is nowhere near what it used to be.

Crime surges, unkempt resorts, and overall bad publicity have deemed this beach city a dud, and that was before the devastating hurricane that passed through this year.

That's just not the case for Cancun.

Vacationers love to book Cancun trips for a sunny escape year after year. And who knows… if the pandemic never happened then maybe 30 million tourists might have visited by now.

One thing is for sure, Cancun puts tourism first with the right investments – new resorts, increased security forces and clean beaches, even when the icky sargassum invasion occurred.

cancun sign at resort pool

More Hype Than Ever Before

Already the most connected international destination for Americans, it's so easy to book a trip to Cancun.

Even if you're over life at home and desperately need a last-minute flight, chances are you'll be able to reach Cancun in no time.

Every notable airline in the U.S. flies to Cancun, plus Mexican-based airlines as a backup plan. But this isn't the real reason 2024 will be bigger than ever.

It's the new developments that make this stunning region of Mexico so exciting to visit this year.

resorts on beach in cancun

Those who helped break the record in 2023 are the last to see Cancun before major changes kick off.

While Cancun will undoubtedly put up similar numbers, if not bigger in 2024, a major reason so many tourists fly here is to pass through.

No, travelers aren't skipping out on high-end resorts and incredible beaches; they're just choosing another nearby paradise.

With the recent opening of the Tulum International Airport, using Cancun as a gateway will no longer be the case for many.

Come March when multiple direct flights to U.S. launch, it's a whole new ballgame.

bright blue water cancun beach

The Mexican Caribbean Is Booming

Cancun is the most recognizable name in the Mexican Caribbean, but the entire region skyrocketed in popularity in 2023.

You can't really go wrong with any destination you pick, but the bottom line is this stunning region of Mexico is welcome to all types of travelers.

Honeymooners, newlyweds, family vacations, solo trippers, digital nomads, you name it. Cancun will by and large be the most crowded, so vacationers often find a day-trip elsewhere at the very least.

coastline of tulum

Unable to do so last year unless you were in the lucky bunch who scored tickets, the highly anticipated Maya Train will make trips outside Cancun even easier this year.

Playa del Carmen and Tulum, two places seeing a surge in popularity last year, are easily reachable by train from Cancun's impressive new station.

Other trendy places like Cozumel and Isla Mujeres will have to be reached the old-fashioned way as Mexico didn't lay track across the ocean to reach these gorgeous islands.

Of course, nobody is required to leave Cancun, which many say is the purpose of visiting in the first place.

colorful cancun sign

Most resorts are placed in perfect settings along some of Mexico's finest beaches and that's good enough for a lot of travelers.

There is plenty to do and see within the city limits, including the revival of the downtown district.

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