Yucatán is expecting its largest tourist boom in over a year

Some closures simply shuffle visitors to other sites

Beaches in Celestun and Sisal are expecting large amounts of visitors over the Easter holidays due to the closure of Progreso. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Beaches in Celestun and Sisal are expecting large amounts of visitors over the Easter holidays due to the closure of Progreso. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Hotels in Yucatán are expecting to reach near 60% occupancy over the Easter holidays.

Even before the official start of the holiday season on March 29, tourists began to arrive in Mérida in numbers not seen since before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Many families from far and wide in México have chosen Yucatán for their Easter vacation. This is because they know that they can have a great time but also stay safe,” said the president of Mérida’s tourism board, Iván Rodriguez Gasque. 

Aside from hotels, many holiday-goers have opted to rent vacation homes along the coast in communities such as Yucalpeten, Telchac and Sisal. 

Destinations that normally attract relatively small numbers of domestic tourists, such as Izamal, are likely to see a great deal of activity this year. This is because Yucatan’s top tourism destination, Chichén Itzá, will remain closed over the holiday.

Earlier: Yucatán promotes pandemic-era tourism with a new campaign

State and federal authorities said that they felt compelled to close Chichén Itzá to avoid a surge of COVID-19 cases in the state, especially after several media sources began to report that many tourists were not following sanitary protocols.

Restaurants along Progreso’s boardwalk will remain open during the Easter holiday, but access will be closed to its beach and boardwalk. Many business owners along the boardwalk feel that the measure is unfair as these restrictions do not affect any other coastal communities. 

Observers have questioned the wisdom of shutting down Chichén Itzá and beaches at Progreso, as tourists and locals are likely to simply funnel into other attractions which do not have the capacity to safely handle large numbers of visitors.

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.