Hotels Shut Down as Holy Week ApproachesBy Cas Biekmann | Wed, 04/08/2020 - 14:53
Tourism represents 8 percent of Mexico’s GDP. An important element in the industry is the hotel sector. Due to COVID-19, every person is urged to stay indoors and trips are cancelled. With Holy Week approaching, a financial blow is waiting around the corner for these companies.
The Mexican government reiterated on Monday its call to avoid international travel to and from Mexico for non-essential reasons. This includes recreation and tourism, particularly during Easter. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) stated that its request is "in accordance with the measures to counteract the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the world and in our country."
For many hotels, lack of guests means that there is no reason to keep businesses running at the moment. In the past weeks, Quintana Roo saw occupancy rates reach as low as 5.2 percent, reported El Universal. Spanish Tourism group Tui, as reported by Mexico News Daily, will close its hotels around the Rivera Maya, including its successful all-inclusive concept Riu Palace. On April 2, the Mexico City government published an agreement ordering the suspension of activities in non-essential services, which included hotels and hostels.
This does not mean that there is no important role for hotels to play. The president of the National Tourist Business Council, Braulio Arsuaga, said in an interview with Radio Formula that he was contacted by the presidential office. "They asked us that if we were willing to provide hotels for COVID-19 patients who are not allowed in hospitals due to a high demand of patients. We said yes, that for us there is of course a wish to turn those hotels not into a refuge but into hospitals" he said. This would follow a worldwide industry trend, where governments look to activate idle industries to make use of their space or their production facilities to help combat COVID-19, such as creating care facilities in empty spaces and using car part manufacturers to produce ventilators.
It is unlikely that hotels will shut down completely, as Milenio reported. The protocol of the General Directorate of Epidemiology indicates that for humanitarian reasons, hotels need to protect foreigners who remain in Mexico due to border closures or flight cancellations.