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Tourism in Mexico: resisting the impact of COVID-19

The Security Perception index for the destination shows a drop of 13% in comparison to February but flight bookings show certain signs of recovery according to Mabrian’s Travel Intelligence platform. The United States origin market shows the highest level of confidence.

According to the Mexican Government’s Health Secretary, with over 30,000 deaths, Mexico has become the fifth most affected country in terms of deaths caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This serious health situation is directly affecting the tourism industry, that, despite putting a great deal of effort into preventive actions, is afraid of a potential halt to the reopening which only recently began for the main tourism destinations in the country.

Together, Mabrian Technologies’ Travel Intelligence Platform and the consulting firm Interamerican Network have carried out a study regarding the effects of the crisis on confidence levels, tourism demand and air connectivity between the country and its main international markets in America.

Evolution of the tourist Perception of Security Index                                   

Mabrian’s platform is capable of analysing millions of spontaneous tourist mentions on Social Media (Big Data) from both visitors as well as potential visitors to a destination. With this data and using Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence Techniques, they calculate a series of key indicators in terms of perception, satisfaction and interest with regards to a tourist destination.

Amongst these indicators, the Perception of Security Index (PSI) measures the level of confidence shown by different markets regarding a destination and how it is affected by security events (violence, attacks, civil insecurity, health threats, etc.).

Mexico Evolution of the tourist Perception of Security Index

The health situation in Mexico is affecting the confidence shown by visitors and potential visitors in general. Between the 15th February and the 5th July, the global Security Perception Index (PSi) dropped by 13%. In comparison to the same period in 2019, the PSi dropped by 9.4%.

Nonetheless, the evolution of the PSi differs for each of the origin markets analysed. The US market shows a higher level of stability and confidence throughout the timeframe analysed. Not far behind, the Brazilian market also reflects a higher level of confidence. On the opposite end of the spectrum, both the Canadian and the Argentine markets show higher levels of sensitivity towards the situation in Mexico, with higher levels of instability and drops in the PSi.

Evolution of Demand

Another of the datasets analysed for this study is the evolution of spontaneous demand to travel to Mexico. To do so, flight searches to travel on any future date from the search day onwards to three main tourist airports in the country (Cancun, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta) were monitored.

As a basis the 10 main origin markets for the country, including the domestic market, were analysed and a comparison with the same period of 2019 in terms of the volume of flight searches was carried out.

Mexico Evolution Air Capacity

From the 16th March, a clear change in trend can be observed with flight searches dropping below 2019 levels. From that date onwards, the evolution is clearly negative, dropping by almost 90% in volume of searches for certain dates.

However, from the 20th May onwards, the beginning of a slow but constant recovery trend seems to emerge. When looking at the first week of July in comparison to the first week of June, an increase of 30% can be seen in the volume of searches although June values still remain 60% below the 2019 ones.

Evolution of Air Connectivity

Besides analysing demand, accessibility to the destination was also included in this study. One of the major tourist effects of the crisis generated by COVID-19 is the interruption of international air connectivity. Reestablishment of air connectivity is a key aspect to take into account for the recovery of tourism. That’s why Mabrian’s Travel Intelligence platform is constantly monitoring schedules for all airlines and routes worldwide.

Mexico Evolution Flight Bookings

Taking into consideration the 10 main airports in Mexico and the published flight schedules for airlines up until 30th June 2020, significant differences can be seen over the next few months.

In July, the scheduled seats for the origin markets analysed are close to null. The only exception is the United States where 44% of the scheduled seats have been maintained, in comparison to 2019.

In August, the  schedules start to show clear signs of recovery in almost all of the markets analysed with the exception of Argentina. Brazil’s schedule recovery is particularly noteworthy. Nevertheless, the values do not reach 2019 values.

In September, the schedules are much more optimistic. The total number of seats scheduled is restored and in fact exceeded throughout the month, in comparison to 2019 from Brazil and Argentina. The United States almost meets 2019 levels whereas Canada still shows lower volumes in comparison to 2019 (-12.6%).

It’s important to emphasise that flight schedules are dynamic and suffer constant changes due to the unstable situation of both the destination and of each of the different origin markets. That’s why Mabrian updates this data twice a week.

One of the key aspects of working with this type of information is that it is available in real-time. The uncertainty and turmoil that the pandemic has caused in the tourism sector makes it imperative to be able to rely on an updated view of trends that only Tourism Intelligence can offer. 

These tools help to guide the decision making for management and marketing for the recovery of both tourism destinations as well as hotel chains, airlines and other private actors in the sector.

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