Mexico begins Holy Week amid biggest economic expectations in 3 years
Mexico City, Apr 2 (EFE).- Mexico is beginning Holy Week with expectations of taking in more than 160 billion pesos (some $8.88 billion) in sales revenues amid a resurgence in domestic consumption indicating economic recovery to pre-pandemic levels in trade, services and tourism despite ongoing challenges such as lack of security and inflation.
In an interview with EFE, the president of the Confederation of National Chambers of Commerce, Services and Tourism (Concanaco Servytur), Hector Tejada, emphasized that the Catholic celebration in 2023, after the elimination of Covid-19 restrictions, “will mean an economic benefit as had not been seen in three years.”
He said that during the April 2-10 period, expectations are for average hotel occupancy to reach 85 percent, which would mean that more than 11 million tourists would be visiting assorted destinations within Mexico to witness or participate in Holy Week events.
In addition, he said that the destinations expected to receive the most visitors are: Acapulco (92 pct. hotel occupancy), Veracruz (90 pct.), Oaxaca (90 pct.), Riviera Maya (85 pct.), Yucatan (85 pct.), San Cristobal de las Casas (85 pct.), San Juan del Rio (85 pct.), Coahuila (78 pct.), Baja California Sur (75 pct.), Nuevo Leon (73 pct.), Mexico City (68 pct.) and Puerto Vallarta (61 pct.).
The business leader stressed the importance of supporting formal businesses in Mexico with an eye toward maintaining local tourism as one of the country’s most important economic activities, contributing more than 8 percent to the gross domestic product.
This positive outlook for economic activity in the coming week comes amid inflation that has been falling for four consecutive two-week periods to an annualized level of 7.12 percent, although that is not doing much to relieve the pressure on Mexican wallets in terms of the prices for basic items in the population’s diet including tomatoes, eggs and chicken.
The holiday period in Mexico comes amid calls to US tourists, who have been alerted by the US Department of State not to travel to Mexico, saying that there are large regions controlled by organized criminal organizations and a high level of crime throughout the country, which ended 2022 with 30,968 murders, according to official figures.
However, various state tourism secretariats around Mexico told EFE that “the main Mexican destinations are OK” and that efforts are focusing on deploying a greater local security presence, providing better civilian protection and more tourist police, among other things, along with conducting information campaigns designed to keep foreigners and domestic travelers safe over the holiday.
Baja California Secretary of State Miguel Aguiñiga said that the alerts have always been in place and that they are simply increased when the Holy Week vacation coincides with the popular “spring break.”
He said that although nobody in Mexico can control what the US government says, lack of security in Mexico is being attacked with information campaigns.
In addition, the top tourism official in the state of Zacatecas, Leroy Barragan, said that lack of security is an issue that harms the entire country and which has “very much hurt” his state.
He said that among the measures being implemented in his state are an increase in the number of public security officers, the deployment of the militarized National Guard and the army, along with greater monitoring activities on highways in conjunction with central Mexican states like Queretaro, Guanajuato and San Luis Potosi.
In that regard, the Nuevo Leon tourism secretary, Maricarmen Martinez, said that efforts are being made to build intrastate highways within her state with an eye toward ensuring that tourists would not have to leave the state and expose themselves to violence elsewhere in the country.
Meanwhile, the head of tourism in Jalisco state, Claudia Vanessa Perez, said that her state has not experienced a single tourism-related incident and insisted on “correct reporting, given that when an incident occurs in the country it becomes linked to all tourist destinations in the same way.”
Jorge Cabrejos, the director of marketing for the Guanajuato state tourism secretariat, said that although violent incidents do occur in Mexico, the states are continuing to hold tourist events, since “if something were out of control, the world-class events that take place in the country would not be occurring.”