Unsinkable

Despite COVID-19, mega-yachts flock to Baja California Sur.

The COVID-19 pandemic decimated tourism and reduced international mobility to rock bottom levels. As a result, the Marina de La Paz in Baja California Sur forecast a 50% reduction in boats for this years high season, which began in November.

Against all expectations, a local marina operator reports, “The seven marinas in La Paz are at 80% occupancy, just five points below previous years.” Apparently this resilience has been driven by an increase in the number of megayachts of less than 200 feet.

“The seven marinas in La Paz are at 80% occupancy, just five points below previous years.”

Marina Operator, Baja California Sur

An optimistic tourism entrepreneur in Baja California Sur reports, “There has been a decrease, but the high season has just started, we hope it will still reach the levels of previous years.”

A government official in the state of Baja Californian Sur outlines the impact of the pandemic on the state, “Confinement measures have created uncertainty and the state government was forced to find solutions to recover the critical tourism industry.” He continues, “The state is a national benchmark for sport fishing, which generates around USD 165 million a year and thousands of jobs, COVID-19 has reduced this by 10% in the first half of the year.”

“Sport fishing … generates around USD 165 million a year … COVID-19 has reduced this by 10% in the first half of the year.”

Government Official, Baja California Sur

The main clients to this area are American celebrities who are seeking luxury and comfort but above all, privacy. The entrepreneur explains how they have been able to remain relevant to these clients, “We have introduced rigorous hygiene protocols and protection schemes, in some cases we have created employee bubbles prior to clients arriving.”

The government official outlines their priorities for driving a recovery from the pandemic, “We need to maintain control of COVID-19 cases and guarantee travellers an unforgettable experience in a safe and controlled environment.”

There are other challenges facing the industry beyond the economic recovery and the effects of the pandemic: firstly, climate change has moved certain species of fish out of the area, secondly there are growing disputes between commercial and sport fishermen and finally some areas are becoming points of drug deliveries.

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