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Report: Beach visitors up by over 1.4M

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Cancun is teeming with a lot more people this year.
Cancun is teeming with a lot more people this year. Photo: Lonely Planet

More tourists are coming to the Yucatán Peninsula this year. Well over a million more than last year, in fact.

The 16.5 percent bump-up through August compares favorably with the rest of Mexico, which logged an 8.55 percent increase in visitors.

Looking at beach tourism alone, the number gets even better.

One big resort still gets the lion’s share of tourists. Of 9.6 million visitors to the peninsula, 4.5 million of them were Cancun’s. Much smaller Cozumel had far fewer visitors, but each destination can brag of a roughly 43 percent increase in tourists.

That success was offset among beach resorts by the gated community Playacar, which saw an unexplained 30.33 percent decline. Other destinations, such as Playa del Carmen and Akumal, held flat.

City numbers were also a drag on the peninsula’s average. The government report compared beaches in Quintana Roo with historic Mérida and Campeche. Mérida saw a decline of 19,336 people or 2.5 percent; Campeche, which draws roughly a quarter of Mérida’s tourist trade, lost 24,439 visitors, an 11.23 drop, according to the government report. (See chart below.)

These are official tourist statistics with an eye on key areas, and real numbers would be even higher. Beach towns along the Gulf of Mexico, like Chelem or Chicxulub, and alternative expat cities such as Valladolid, were not mentioned in the report. The report also did not report revenue figures, or if tourists were spending more or less on average.

The report counts both domestic and international travelers. Most city tourists are domestic travelers, while the beach resorts are more mixed.

Here is how official numbers look so far this year:

Tourists in the Yucatán Peninsula

(First eight months of 2014)
Beach resorts 2013 2014 Variance % Change
Cancun 3,122,268 4,462,854 1,340,586 42.94
Cozumel 313,874 449,858 135,984 43.32
Isla Mujeres 210,830 233,493 22,663 10.75
Riviera Maya 2,488,419 2,521,746 33,327 1.34
Akumal 209,755 210,853 1,098 0.52
Playa del Carmen 490,821 498,948 8,127 1.66
Playacar 443,700 309,131 -134.569 -30.33
Mérida, Yucatán 782,708 763,372 -19.336 -2.47
Campeche, Campeche 217,681 193,242 -24.439 -11.23
Total 8,280,056 9,643,497 1,363,441 16.47

Source: Mexican Ministry of Tourism

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