Merida near the top of Mexico’s touristic destinations
According to DataTur (National Statistical Information System of the tourism sector), Mérida closed 2016 with 62.1% of hotel occupancy, which represents 2.1% more than in 2015. “This percentage places our capital as the fourth city at the national level in that area, behind San Luis Potosí, Puebla and Mexicali whose occupancy records were above 62.1%,” said the Director of Economic Development and Tourism of the City Council, Carolina Cárdenas Sosa.
The official attributed this phenomenon to several factors: the consolidation of the Mérida brand in the international arena, the promotion of tourism infrastructure in the Historic Center, the strategy to promote this city in the framework of the celebrations of the American Capital of Culture and activities to promote its attractions in markets exporting national tourists par excellence such as Guadalajara, Monterrey and Mexico City.
The Mexican Chamber of Hotels in Yucatan itself confirms the data and emphasizes that in contrast to other tourist destinations of the State, whose occupancy remains stable or with slight downward variations, hotels in Mérida register a high growth in passing from 55.86% that registered in 2015 to 62.1% in 2016. The other destinations of the interior of the State had an occupancy of 51.32% and 56.23%, respectively, indicating that Mérida had an increase with respect to Yucatán of 5.60% in 2015 and 12.14% in 2016.
As a tourist brand, Mérida was designated Best Destination City for Congresses and Conventions 2016 by the magazine “Conventions of Latin America”; Best Gourmet Destination in Mexico, awarded by the Food and Travel Readers Awards, which recognizes the best of the national tourism industry. The Lonely Planet magazine, which is the main tourism guide that recommends where to travel, especially to European tourists, selected Merida in the number four place among the best destinations in the world to visit in 2017. The magazine “Forbes” described Mérida as the third best place to travel in 2017, the influential internet site CNN Money placed this city as number one to retire abroad, and the newspaper “The Guardian” included Merida in its list of the best destinations to visit in 2017.
Other factors that attract tourism are recent events such as International Festival of Lights (Filux), The American Capital of Culture, which offers a wide cultural offer for every day of the year, the videomapping of the Historic Center, the Mayan ball game “Pok ta pok”, and the Santa Lucia serenade, with its 52 years of tradition, among other popular and innovative activities.
Also considered important to tourism are the urban work carried out by the City Council such as the preservation of Historical Heritage with the renovation of more than 80 facades of buildings and large houses in the Historic Center, the restoration of the Homeland Monument, the exhibition “Path of flowers” in the park of Mejorada, free internet in an area of Paseo de Montejo, the improvement of the illumination of tourist zones and the resurfacing of streets.
According to DataTur, Valladolid remains unchanged with 31.5% occupancy, half that of Merida; Chichén Itzá also remains unchanged with a 23.5% occupancy, and Uxmal closed with 20.3%; That is, only one in five rooms was occupied in 2016.
Carolina Cardenas said that in general terms Yucatan presents a significant growth in the sector because tourism conventions, weddings, nature and archaeological groups between January and March this year resulted in the state receiving 512,603 passengers at the International Airport of Merida.
January registered a 20.2% increase compared to the 146,931 that the airport received in 2016, according to data provided by Grupo Asur (which manages the airport), closing the high season in Merida with national and international visitors.
In March, there were 178,763 passengers, an increase of 9.4% compared to the same month of 2016, and the growth is expected to increase significantly at the end of April due to the holidays of Easter, the celebration of 100 Years of the Concanaco and the scheduled specialized congresses.