Donate today and your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the American Public Media Board.
Mexico’s tourist industry struggles as the pandemic continues
Share Now on:
Before the pandemic, the main square of Valle de Bravo would have plenty of visitors at dusk. But now, the square of this tourism-driven town in central Mexico is closed, and only the birds are back.
Since mid-July, the government is allowing hotels to operate at just 30% of their capacity, following strict sanitizing rules and hygiene protocols.
Juan García, who manages the Puesta del Sol hotel in Valle de Bravo, said in Spanish that they worry about asymptomatic guests, but the main concern all over town is the lack of visitors.
Tourists from the United States are the main source of foreign tourism in Mexico. But the country’s tourism industry is struggling to lure foreign visitors as it adapts to the pandemic’s “new normal.”
García said the state government has supported tourism businesses by temporarily eliminating the occupancy tax that’s usually charged to hotel guests. But many people, like artisans or boat drivers, depend on tourists, too.
Roberto Zapata, the tourism vice president of Mexico’s National Chamber of Commerce, said he was expecting tourism to grow in 2020. And now?
“We are going to be reaching, at the most, 45%,” he said.
Zapata said about 9% of Mexico’s gross domestic product comes from the tourism sector, which he said has been losing around $180 million per day since the pandemic started in March.
“We have 10 million people that are employees of the tourism in the different areas,” he said.
Zapata said some local authorities have been supportive of business owners, but he’s critical of the Mexican government.
“So, yeah, we’re just doing everything by ourselves; that’s a fact,” he said.
Last year, the administration of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador disbanded ProMexico, an agency that, among other things, promoted tourism internationally.
Obrador has said he is optimistic, and that tourism is going up, forecasting that things will get back to normal by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the pandemic is not the only thing that has hurt tourism, as hurricanes have been hitting the Caribbean coasts.
In Cancún, workers had to use chain saws to clear the damage left by Hurricane Delta in early October.
Laura Orrostieta owns Cancún Transfers and Tours, a company in the Mayan Riviera. She said she has noticed a slight return of visitors, particularly from the rest of Mexico and the U.S., and said she’s feeling more optimistic.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?
This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.
Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?
India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.
Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy continues reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.
Don’t miss this special