Cuba could turn into a threat to cruise tourism in Quintana Roo
Tourism in Cuba is turning the island into an important destination for the cruise line industry, and this could be counter-productive for the state of Quintana Roo, specifically for Cozumel and Mahahual.
“Neither the Dominican Republic or the Bahamas have expansion plans, but Cuba is projected to grow to 160,000 hotel rooms in the coming years”, said Carlos Gosselin Maurel, president of the Association of Hotels Cancún (AHC).
“Some of the major cruise lines are already sending their ships to Cuba. Besides, the shape of the island and its length offer a several day stay scenario; since Havana is on the northern tip, while Guantanamo is on the southern tip of the island, so it is possible to have several days cruises around the island; and that will restrict some of these cruisers from reaching Cozumel or Mahahual,” he said.
American tourists are no longer restricted from going to Cuba, so there is a huge “curiosity” to visit this destinationto that was somehow “forbidden” for more than 50 years.
“Mahahual could be the more affected, because they do not have the necessary infrastructure and could not compete against a destination such as Cuba, that has many recreational, historical and cultural attractions”.
According to information from the Federal Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR), during the first quarter of 2016, Mexico recorded a 2% growth in cruise ship arrivals to the main tourist ports of the country, while passenger arrivals had increased 2.1% over the same period of 2015.
Cozumel and Mahahual in Quintana Roo; Cabo San Lucas in Baja California Sur; Ensenada in Baja California, and Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco, are the Mexican ports with most cruisers’ arrivals in the first quarter of this year.
Every tourist that arrives at Mexican ports via crcuise spends USD $75 per passenger. In Cozumel, due to its natural attractions and the growing number of tourist service providers, the spend rises to an average of $120 per passenger, while Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta register an average of $95 USD per visitor.
Quintana Roo also broke the world record at the end of 2015, with the arrival of more than 3 million tourists via cruise, specifically to its ports of Cozumel and Mahahual.