Home LifestyleExpat Community Yucatan is the Mexican travel destination that has it all

Yucatan is the Mexican travel destination that has it all

by Sofia Navarro
0 comment

As part of its commitment to continue increasing its tourism development, Yucatan aspires to position itself as the main destination in southeastern Mexico. The privilege of having archaeological sites, cenotes, Mayan rituals, nature reserves, some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, magical towns, colonial architecture, adventure activities, and other attractions make this Mexican state a dream place that has it all.

Regarding this and other issues, TTC exclusively interviewed Michelle Fridman Hirsh, head of Yucatan’s Secretariat of Tourism Development (Sefotur).

Monumento a la Patria (Photo: SIPSE)

During 2022, how will the influx of visitors to the state of Yucatán behave?

In 2022, not only did we successfully conclude our 365 days in Yucatan campaign, which arose from the need to strengthen the state’s tourism industry during the Covid-19 contingency, which established local and regional tourism as the driving force of the segment, but also established itself as the year of tourism and economic recovery for the state, where in addition to recovering and overcoming the pre-pandemic indicators, we achieved an increase of 111.9% in the arrival of national tourism that stayed overnight in the state and 74.9% in international tourism.

At the same time, at the end of last year, Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR) announced that the International Airport of the City of Merida had also surpassed pre-pandemic records, with a total of 3,079,618 passengers. It is worth remembering that this airport is currently undergoing a final stage of remodeling, which doubled its capacity for the reception of travelers, with modern facilities that provide a better flow of passengers on their arrival and departure.

Yucatecan Hacienda (Photo: YAM)

What has been the impact of the “365 flavors in Yucatan” initiative and how much of a positive impact has it brought to the destination?

Our 365 days in Yucatan campaign shows that every day this destination has a different day to live and experience. We set ourselves the task of reviewing the tourist inventory with the objective of guaranteeing our national and international market that every day they could have a different experience, including beach destinations, cenotes, archaeological zones, Magical Towns, colonial cities, Mayan villages; among others. This is how we did it. For 2022, we consolidated the campaign by renewing it and turning it into “365 Flavors in Yucatan” and now we proudly present that we have an endemic flavor, a traditional cook, a dish, a technique or a recipe to present every day of the year.

Salbutes (Photo: YAI)

The Gastronomic Policy of Yucatán aims to decentralize tourism and take our visitors to the 106 municipalities in the state; and thus take them by the hand to experience the living Mayan culture, through their cooks, ancestral techniques, backyard crops and a series of flavors and senses that have a very high numerability factor, such as Habanero chili, sour orange, xtabentún (a liquor of Mayan origin, which is produced in the state of Yucatan, from honey from bees fed with the xtabentún flower), cochinita pibil (a type of meat stew); These are only the beginning of a very long gastronomic and culinary experience that Yucatan has to present to the world.

Therefore, today we can say that it is possible to travel to Yucatan with gastronomy as the main value in the decision making process of national and international travelers, who recognize our gastronomy as one of the most relevant in the country, so they want to get to taste the unique blend of traditional and contemporary cuisine.

There is already a significant increase in national and international reservations, which by the end of 2022 will not only allow us to show a recovery in the numbers of flows and percentage of hotel occupancy in 2019, but we can also present increases with respect to that year.

The UNWTO incorporated the Yucatan Tourism Observatory into its International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories. What has this inclusion meant and what have been the main challenges and opportunities that have been identified in terms of sustainable development?

It means that we have one of the only two observatories recognized by the World Tourism Organization worldwide, which not only measures more precisely the tourism indicators that allow us to know where we are and where we are going, but also the impact of tourism as an industry, in a sustainable manner in the state; therefore, this appointment is extremely important. It allows us to contribute valuable information to international Tourism, to receive equally valuable information for Yucatan, its tourism industry, where it is located and where it is going.

This project, which began in 2018, has a Technical Committee made up of representatives from the public, private, academic and social sectors, who established, as one of the guidelines to follow, the development of indicators that could measure sustainability, sustainability, as well as evaluate public policies implemented in the field of tourism. In this sense, in July 2021, when we received the visit of the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization, we had an approach with the Directorate of Sustainable Development that led us to the preparation of the technical dossier for the application of our observatory. It should be noted that this project was worked on in conjunction with other state agencies, such as the Technical Secretariat of Planning and Evaluation (SEPLAN) and the Secretariat of Sustainable Development (SDS); as well as with the Autonomous University of Yucatan (UADY) and other institutions and business chambers that joined and supported the development of the observatory. The appointment represents a commitment to follow up on sustainability issues in Yucatan in two or three years with a good perspective of future growth.

Hotel Chablé Pool Area (Photo: El País)

What strategy has the Secretariat of Tourism Development of Yucatan followed to continue developing rural tourism?

The axis that Sefotur has maintained following the instructions of the Governor of the state of Yucatan, Mauricio Vila Dosal, is to have a sustainability and growth of the tourism inventory on three main axes: sustainability, sustainability and inclusion.

Under this figure, one of our flagship products are the Mayan Villages, which have two characteristic elements: regenerative tourism and community tourism.

In this sense, we offer our visitors an approach to the true living Mayan Culture, not only through the archaeological sites, but also through the daily life and experience of harvesting ingredients, cooking with ancestral techniques and sharing the infinite cultural, scientific and mathematical gastronomic knowledge of the Mayans, which allows a cultural exchange and a greater economic benefit for all these communities that are proud to receive tourism.

Celestún will not close its beaches. Photo: (Social media)

Tell us about the Mayan train project and what it will mean for the Yucatan Peninsula.

The project is in charge of the Federal Government, which has generated important sources of employment during its construction and we hope it will continue to develop new jobs and an important connectivity with the Peninsula.

As a reference we have the important cities of Europe, who have achieved success stories through this means of transportation and connectivity. We have great expectations that more national and international travelers will learn more about Yucatan and its infinite attributes, thanks to the Tren Maya.

We are confident that a large part of the international market will consider the Tren Maya as an opportunity to reach more corners of Yucatán, as we believe that any work that improves infrastructure and connectivity is beneficial to any tourist destination.

For 2023, what are the main tourist destinations and attractions you are promoting?

This 2023, Sefotur continues with the pace of work for tourism development, seeking to establish new marks in the indicators to position Yucatan as the main destination in southeastern Mexico.

Yucatan is a destination that has it all: it has a wide range of quality products and services that, through innovative projects such as the Year of Yucatecan Gastronomy, which continues in 2023, and the 365 flavors of Yucatan strategy, have positioned the state as an international benchmark for the development of high-impact tourism products.

We have the six regions into which the state has been divided; which have all the experiences and tourism products on which our 365 days in Yucatan campaign is based; such as cenotes, Mayan rituals, archaeological sites, nature reserves, some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, magical towns, unique colonial architecture, adventure activities, among other attractions that come together in this destination.

With respect to air connectivity and the cruise ship segment, what’s new in Yucatan?

Regarding air connectivity, the offer was expanded in the state during 2022. The International Airport of the City of Merida “Lic. Manuel Crescencio Rejon” registered a record movement of 3,079,618 passengers (arrivals and departures), which represents increases of +48.1% with respect to what was registered during 2021 and of 10.4% with respect to what was registered during 2019 (prior to the pandemic and record year in the state’s tourism indicators).

During the same year, four new air routes began operations: TAG Airlines, on its routes to Guatemala and Flores, with four and three weekly arrivals, respectively; and Viva Aerobús, on its route to Toluca, with one daily flight per week; and Camagüey (Cuba), with one weekly flight per week.

In addition, Aeroméxico and Volaris began operations to Mexico City’s new Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA), maintaining a weekly average of 18 inbound flights between the two airlines.

Also noteworthy is the establishment of a new operating base (air hub) for Viva Aerobús at the Mérida International Airport, which will allow three aircraft to spend the night, thereby increasing connectivity to this destination and generating 600 direct and indirect jobs. The new base will operate, in its first stage, more than 400 flights per month transporting more than 160,000 passengers, as well as the start of operations of three new air routes to directly connect Yucatán with León, Querétaro and Toluca.

(Photo: yucatan.com.mx)

To date, 11 domestic routes are in operation with direct connections to the following destinations: Mexico City (AICM and AIFA), Guadalajara, Leon, Monterrey, Oaxaca, Queretaro, Tijuana, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Veracruz, Villahermosa and Toluca, and nine international routes with Houston, Miami, Dallas and Oakland in the United States; Toronto, in Canada; Havana and Camaguey, in Cuba; and Guatemala City and Flores, in Guatemala.

Meanwhile, in relation to Cruise Tourism during 2022, the Port of Progreso registered the arrival of 99 cruise ships with 252,224 passengers, which represents a recovery of the confidence of the shipping lines in this destination, registered as of July 2021, date in which the movement of cruises in the North American and Caribbean market was reactivated. In said year, this market in Yucatan recovered 67.8% of arrivals and 53.6% of passengers, compared to the record figures observed in 2019, before the pandemic.

In this way, the reactivation of cruise ship activity allowed the economic recovery of the tourism service providers involved in the Port of Progreso and the state of Yucatan.

Last year we welcomed the first six cruise ship arrivals: World Voyager, from Mystic Cruises; Ocean Voyager, from American Queen Voyages; Norwegian Prima, from Norwegian Cruise Line; Disney Magic, from Disney Cruise Lines; Le Bellot, from Ponant; and Radiance of the Seas, from Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.

Likewise, in order to maintain the constant promotion of Yucatán as a cruise destination in the minds of the cruise lines, since May 2020, a bimonthly newsletter “Yucatán Cruise Newsletter” has been published, aimed at cruise line executives, tour operators, port authorities and, in general, the worldwide cruise community. The newsletter, which is published in English only, is available at http://www.sefotur.yucatan.gob.mx/yucatancruisenews.

TYT Newsroom

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Our Company

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consect etur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis.


Laest News

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?
Update Required Flash plugin