by Jerry Jones
United Airlines is set to relaunch a host of routes to popular destinations in Mexico, including Puerto Vallarta, while the pandemic continues to take it toll on Mexico tourism.
In September, United will be resuming flights from Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta. The carrier also announced the planned resumption of service between Denver and Cabo San Lucas. In total, United is adding 20 routes to its schedule in Latin America and the Caribbean next month.
The pandemic continues to take its toll on tourism in Mexico, with the first six months of 2020 showing a 41% drop compared to the same period in 2019. The country received 13 million visitors in the first half of 2020.
Tourism Minister Miguel Torruco told Reuters News that the decline in tourists had led to a 51.5% decrease in foreign exchange revenues to $5.786 billion during the January-June period.
Tourism accounts for about 9% of Mexican gross domestic product, but tourists have stayed away from foreign countries during the pandemic-triggered lockdown.
And the U.S. State Department continues to warn against travel to many countries, including Mexico. Much of the country has been placed a “Level 4” travel alert because of the widespread pandemic. Previously, Mexico as a whole had been classified under a “Level 2” advisory with some states elevated to a “Level 4” due to crime, according to the Associated Press.
Several Mexican states, however, were classified under a lesser warning, including Jalisco (home to Puerto Vallarta), which was classified as a “Level 3,” telling tourists to “reconsider travel” there.
Mexico has recorded more than 485,000 confirmed cases of the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University, the sixth-highest case totals in the world behind the U.S., Brazil, India, Russia, and South Africa.
While the land border between Mexico and the U.S. remains closed until at least Aug. 21, Mexico is one of the countries Americans are able to travel to this summer, should they so choose to fly.
Those who decide to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19, and to take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.