According to The New York Times, U.S. arrivals are up, but so are coronavirus cases, especially in hot tourism spots like Los Cabos and Cancún. Experts urge caution, but visitors keep coming.
Mexico’s reputation as an alluring travel destination both before and during the pandemic has met a sobering reality: Despite growing vaccine efforts, the coronavirus is surging, especially in tourist hot spots.
Though the U.S. land border with Mexico has been closed to nonessential travel since the start of the pandemic, vacationers can fly into the country with no quarantine or testing requirements, opening the door to unvaccinated travelers who might contract the virus in Mexico and bring it back home, or for any traveler to pass it on to a Mexican citizen.
But those risks didn’t deter the more than 2 million Americans who visited Mexico in the first four months of this year. According to Mexican government statistics, they represent 76 percent of all international visitors arriving by air. Forward Keys, a service that analyzes flight data, found that air ticketing for American arrivals to Mexico is up nearly 32 percent in the third quarter of 2021, compared to the same period in 2019.
But infections in Mexico are also up — by about 85 percent in the first two weeks of July, according to data from the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. In a recent news conference, Hugo López-Gatell, Mexico’s deputy health minister, confirmed a spike in infections that constitutes a third wave in the pandemic and the second in 2021.