US vacationers begin to think twice about Mexico

American tourists seeking a fun-and-sun getaway have made Cancun’s economic recovery go fairly well during the pandemic. Mexico’s lax entry restrictions have been key. The same goes for places like Cabo.

Mexico has resisted entry restrictions such as COVID-19 test requirement or quarantines.

But now that getting back to the US is a lot dicier, executives report signs of a slowdown.

Fun-seekers who come to Mexico ignore the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when it discourages travel.

Now the CDC, joining Canada, requires that travelers boarding an international flight to the United States must show a negative COVID-19 test before boarding or proof that they had the virus within the past three months and have recovered. The policy takes effect Jan. 26.

That rule could leave air passengers stranded, especially if they test positive.

United Airlines has seen increased cancellations and fewer bookings to Mexico and some Caribbean beach resorts since the testing requirement was announced a week ago, Andrew Nocella, the airline’s chief commercial officer, said Thursday on the airline’s earnings conference.

“There’s no doubt the testing requirement is a short-term negative,” Nocella said.

He said the impact is limited to the beach destinations, though, with no noticeable cancellations or booking declines to other international destinations, including destinations in Europe, Asia and most of Latin America.

That’s because most other countries already had strict entry or exit requirements bookings have already been decimated.

“The one place that is different, that had no regulatory testing requirements, was Mexico,” he said, adding that the airline was seeing a “material amount” of travel volume to the beach resorts.

At Delta, President Glen Hauenstein said there may be some “choppiness” in bookings as the new testing requirements take effect but that travelers will likely adapt in “pretty short order here.”

Delta CEO Ed Bastain said COVID testing is a key to restarting international travel over the long term.

“But it’s going to create some short-term hiccups,” he said.

United plans to add COVID testing partners in Mexico so passengers can more easily comply with the rule.

“One thing we need to do is make sure if you would like to take a trip to Cancun, you feel safe and secure about your ability to do that and return efficiently back to the United States,” Nocella said.

Source: USA Today

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