Cancun, Mexico’s tourist mecca, has been hit by a double crisis

Cancun, Mexico, is one of the favorite destinations for American and European tourists, but this iconic place for mass tourism is currently drowning in a double crisis: Covid-19, which has reduced hotel occupancy to 4% of rooms at the height of the crisis and in Sargassum, which now covers the beaches with hundreds of tons of rotting algae.

“Riviera Maya”, in the region of Cancun, Mexico, attracted 22 million visitors in 2019, but today it is a bad surprise waiting for tourists.

The beaches are actually closed to limit infection from Covid-19. Only customers in luxury hotels who have privatized their beaches have the right to walk in the water.

The other facilities are fighting bankruptcy, with more than sixty hotels recently for sale. Hernan Forster, owner of the turquoise hotel he built five years ago, will have to lay it off. “This is the Covid-19 price, as they say. I put it up for sale at $ 1.125 million, while during normal times I could have sold it at $ 1.80 million,” he explains.

Hotel for sale

Roberto Martinez Troya, his real estate agent, currently has 20 hotels for sale in the area. Almost no one has a private beach. Hotel hotels are also suffering from the spread of lasargassum, this invasive algae that has become an annual nightmare in the Caribbean.

“The interest in buying properties here has collapsed. It was a big blow for us due to the reduction in buy-sell transactions, but we see good offers for potential buyers.” , comments Roberto Martinez Troya

According to him, the economic future of the Riviera Maya has just changed course: the region’s salvation will no longer come from short-term holidaymakers, but from those who, thanks to teleworking opportunities, will want to settle in the long term.