Domestic visitors offer hope to Yucatán’s hard-hit tourism industry

Despite restrictions, passersby in Mérida´s downtown notice significant numbers of domestic tourists.

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Yucatán´s beaches continue to draw tourists but in dramatically smaller numbers. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Though numbers of tourists visible at attractions such as the city zoo and Mérida’s main square remains lower than in past years, artisans and shop owners continue to offer their goods and services. 

Local tour operator Sergio Solis said that Mérida has continued receiving Mexican travelers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, due to its reputation for safety and sound public policy. 

“It is unclear how exactly recent measures taken by the US government to curb international travel will affect Yucatán. This makes our reliance on domestic tourism even higher,” said Sergio Solis. 

Since November, Valladolid has also seen a growing number of tourists, however, given its greater proximity to Cancun, several of these travelers have hailed from the US and Canada. 

Last December, Merida’s city hall relaunched many of its cultural activities held in public squares such as “Noche Mexicana” and “Mérida en Domingo.” However, because of sanitary restrictions, food stalls offering food and beverages have remained closed.

In a press release, Yucatán’s state government expressed the need to continue prioritizing public health, while at the same time implementing programs to ensure the survival of the state’s tourism industry, which in 2019 accounted for slightly over 10% of Yucatán´s GDP. 

Recently, high ranking government officials such as federal health undersecretary, Hugo López-Gatell, have come under intense media criticism for their out of state holidays.

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