The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on Mexican outbound travel, with the number of trips falling by 73%. This figure is the second-highest fall in the Americas, after Peru (76%). Despite commercial flights operating throughout the year at a limited capacity, many countries were reluctant to open their borders amid Mexico’s high COVID-19 infection and death rate. Ultimately, this has led to a devastating drop in outbound travel which will not recover until 2024, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Craig Bradley, Associate Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Many foreign government officials are under pressure to make the right decisions when it comes to travel. Unfortunately, they take the view that countries with high rates of infection and deaths are a risk to the safety of other destinations. Consequently, many international governments have made it almost impossible for Mexicans to enter their borders or at least made it very difficult.”
Mexico’s short-term recovery will depend heavily on its thriving domestic tourism market. Like many other regions, GlobalData projections show domestic trips will recover by 2022.
Bradley continues: “While figures are not guaranteed, the surge in staycation bookings is a global trend. The easing of travel restrictions was slower than expected, and health and safety fears remain a key motivator for domestic tourism.
“Mexico’s domestic tourism market is sizeable. In 2019, there were approximately 275 million domestic trips. Unfortunately, the figure fell by 55% in 2020. As a result, the Mexican Government faces a challenging time. The tourism sector offers jobs and income for many businesses, but the officials may need to consider whether it is safe to promote domestic tourism in the near future as the pandemic continues to hit hard in Mexico.”