Mexico resumes cruises after more than a year

Mexico resumes cruise ship tours after more than a year
Cruise ships in Cozumel. Photo: Kent Weakley/Shutterstock

Hoping for a boost to its tourism industry, Mexico approved the return of cruise ships this week, which have been suspended since March 2020.

Prior to the coronavirus crisis, the cruise sector was one of the fastest growing segments in global tourism — with forecasts of 32 million passengers in 2020. But following multiple cases of onboard transmission of the coronavirus, the industry took a nosedive.

In Mexico, the restart will come in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo, home to the world-famous beaches of Cancún, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. Tourism accounts for over 87 percent of the local economy. 

According to local governor Carlos Joaquín, ships can only sail at 5 percent capacity and all passengers over 16 will require vaccination certificates and negative Covid-19 tests. 

Official data shows that international tourism in Mexico declined by 46 percent due to the coronavirus, costing over 143,000 jobs and USD 13 billion in profit. The return of cruises comes as Mexico’s Covid-19 curve is falling. This week, the country reported its lowest number of deaths for a single day in 14 months, despite suspicions of underreporting.