Testing times

There is no clear strategy for the recovery of tourism in Mexico.

“Prior to the pandemic [Latin America] was growing at 5% per month,” says José Ricardo Botelho, CEO of the Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) but since April there has been a 95% drop in passenger numbers. Industry executives are estimating it could be 2024 – 2025 before they see a return to 2019 levels.

How then, can Latin American countries, specifically Mexico, restart their tourism sectors as the COVD-19 pandemic wanes? Our sources see a worrying lack of leadership and strategy coming from governments in Peru, Colombia and Mexico where it seems the private sector is being left to fend for itself.

“We don’t see any recovery plan put in place in the immediate term.”

Senior manager at CONCANACO SERVYTUR, Mexico.

A senior manager at The Confederation of National Chambers of Commerce, Services and Tourism (CONCANACO SERVYTUR) in Mexico was furious, “In Mexico, it is being left to the private sector to find a way to attract customers without any support from the government. Torruco [Tourism Secretary] wants to support tourism, but he does not have the ability to design a far-reaching strategy and, like many other secretaries, he has severe budgetary restrictions.”

A senior official at the Secretariat of Tourism shared the same concerns, “Torruco, has been the worst Secretary in the industry. I have not seen any strategy or even announcements in the media. There are no preparations or assigned budget. Mexico was supposed to be promoted through its embassies and consulates around the world, but nothing has been done.”

“There are no preparations or assigned budget.”

Senior official at the Secretariat of Tourism, Mexico.

The governments of Mexico, Peru and Colombia are focused on implementing and enforcing epidemiological rules such as social distancing and hygiene protocols, so that hotels and associated services can reopen, even in a limited way. In Mexico specifically, “There are no preparation or assigned budget,” explains our source at the Secretariat of Tourism.

Our sources also report that testing is making a difference in building the trust of tourists but to be successful there needs to be better coordination, an airline executive in Mexico explains, “We need a test taken in London, for example, to be accepted everywhere. The 14-day quarantine is going to ruin tourism.”

If you’re interested in monitoring closely the reopening of the travel and tourism sector in any Latin American country, we are well placed to assist.

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