Tourists arriving in the Mexican state Quintana Roo, home to popular destinations such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Riviera Maya, will have to pay an $11 travel tax beginning April 1.
Foreign travelers will be able to pay the new tax electronically when they book their trip, during their stay, or upon exiting the state via a new website called Visitax. The payment is obligatory for all foreign visitors over 15. There will be also an option to pay in cash at terminals set up in airports.
Proposed by Governor Carlos Joaquín González and approved by the state Congress last year, the tax will use the fund tourism development and is expected to generate $29.1 million this year.
It comes at a time tourism to the Mexican Caribbean is picking up. The Director of the Quintana Roo Tourism Promotion Council (CPTQ), Darío Flota, said at a press conference reported by the Yucatan Times, that the tourist reactivation continues to increase. In total, across all markets, Quintana Roo welcomed over six million tourists in 2020, approximately 52% less than 2019.
The Cancun airport, one of Mexico’s busiest, welcomed about 1.3 million in January. While that’s still 54.7% lower than the same month of 2020, when almost 2.3 million passengers landed there, it’s a sign that post-pandemic travel is underway.
Airlines are ramping up service to meet this demand. On Sunday the first flight from Miami of the Frontier airline landed, which will be arriving four times a week, making Miami the most connected city in the United States with Cancun. Frontier also added four weekly flights to Cancun from Orlando on Feb. 11 and new flights from Denver on Feb. 13 after a six-year absence from the market.
United Airlines just announced it’s boosting its short-haul international network, adding flights to nearly every destination it serves in Mexico, including Cancun, from hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, and San Francisco.
Southwest is scheduled to resume daily service from Houston on March 11. In 2020, the carrier added service to Cozumel. American Airlines has also added routes to Cozumel.
Mexico was called out by several travel advisors as the destination of choice by their clients for upcoming travel, citing their handling of COVID-19 protocols and providing safe options for clients.