Eugenio Barbachano, the tourism minister of Tulum, Quintana Roo, which has served as one of wealthy New York’s winter escapes for much of the past decade, was staring at empty sand. Barbachano was self-isolating in his home on the beach, which would normally be crowded with New Yorkers and Europeans but was now more or less vacant, save for a handful of families that had flown down to quarantine in the sun.
Rich New Yorkers were renting houses upstate, or making their first pre–Memorial Day trips to their homes in Amagansett, but they had mostly ditched Tulum. “It’s like arriving in Tulum in the 1960s,” Barbachano said of the scene today.
A year ago, I wrote an article documenting the ills that overtourism had brought to the previously quiet beach town on Mexico’s Caribbean coast: environmental degradation, disrespectful DJs, drugs. Put simply, too many people. And an influx of seaweed had washed up from far offshore, muddying its turquoise blue waters, which Barbachano and others saw as a silent, existential threat to Tulum’s reputation.
COVID-19 was a new kind of quiet disaster. As of Monday, there were only two cases in Tulum, both from foreign visitors, which meant that “community spread” had not taken place. And yet COVID-19 had been devastating. “Even without community spread, we’re already in a situation of economic lockdown,” Barbachano said. In mid-March, in the heart of Tulum’s winter-into-spring season, hotels along the beach road were near full capacity; now, occupancy rates were at 10 percent, and dropping.
Travelers rushed back home when the U.S. and other governments began instituting travel bans, or canceled trips before they arrived. Since then, 30 of the 100 hotels on the beach had closed altogether, and Barbachano expected most would do so by the end of the month. He cited an old saying in Mexico that now had an even more ominous tenor: “When the U.S. coughs, Mexico gets pneumonia.”
Barbachano comes from one of the oldest families in Mexican tourism…
more recommended stories
Massacre in Celaya hotel leaves 11 dead and four injured; Guanajuato
Eleven people dead and at least.
Ellen Ochoa, the first Latino woman to go to space published her “Dr. Ochoa’s Stellar World” book series
Lil’ Libros Publishing has acquired world.
The Rally Maya Mexico 2022 has begun in Cancun
On Sunday, May 22nd, the Rally.
AIFA will spend almost 10 million pesos on gardening services
Two months after its inauguration, the.
Bazara LGBT+, a containment space for inclusion celebrated its first anniversary in Merida
On May 22, the Bazara LGBT+,.
Motorcycle club will hold a great ride next weekend in Progreso
Next Saturday, May 28, and Sunday,.
Mérida and New Orleans ratify their twinning
With the ratification of the twinning.
Tulum airport will be completed in 2023
Next year, the Tulum International Airport.
New Hospital O’Horán in Mérida: authorities confirm the date to announce the tender
Next Tuesday, June 8, the name.
Mauricio Vila reviews the latest details of the ‘La Plancha’ project
After managing the use of the.