The coronavirus pandemic has forced many Americans to cancel their vacations and destination weddings planned for the next two months and left a looming uncertainty for those looking to travel this summer.
Mexico – one of the most popular destinations for American tourists – could be poised to take a big hit after President Donald Trump’s March 19 announcement that he was closing the U.S.-Mexico border to all nonessential travel, including tourism, through April 20.
Trump has not yet banned tourist flights to Mexico. However, the same day he made his border closure announcement, the State Department issued a travel advisory urging Americans not to travel abroad.
Mexico is the top destination for American tourists, according to the the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office. In 2019, some 32.3 million U.S. citizens traveled to Mexico, the NTTO reported. The most popular cities include Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cabo San Lucas.
Now that the border is closed, USA TODAY is asking travel agents to help advise travelers about whether they should cancel and what it might cost them.
What should a traveler planning to visit Mexico in the next month do?
Jennifer Doncsecz, president of VIP Vacations Inc. in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is among the travel agents scrambling to reschedule their spring vacations to Mexico for the summer and fall. She says a large swath of her clients are now booked to go to Mexico or other countriesin June.
She is cautioning travelers to research cancellation policies before requesting a refund, lest they lose a portion of that sum to cancellation fees. Also, some hotels are not offering refunds at all, meaning the trip could be a complete loss if you choose not to reschedule the trip.
Doncsecz recommends that travelers rebook their trips for later in the year. That way, the traveler remains whole and the tourism industry doesn’t lose money during this rough time.
Source: USA Today
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