Tourism vital for the Mexican economy

Despite a lack of action from the Mexican government, Los Cabos has created its own COVID safe zone. (Ron Pradinuk / Winnipeg Free Press)

After a recent article I wrote regarding the Covid vaccination program in Cuba, I received a number of inquiries regarding Mexico and its success or failure to control the spread of Covid.

From the start, the President of Mexico was not a leader who took the spread of the virus seriously and he did little to stop anything. He also did not aggressively encourage the wearing of masks or limiting the size of crowds.

As a result, Mexico has recorded nearly 3.7 million cases of Covid – and more than 275,000 deaths. However, the general belief is that these numbers are vastly underestimated – since the country has never pursued a strong testing program – and that many other Covid deaths may not have been attributed to the virus.

To date, only 35% of the Mexican population has been fully vaccinated, which is far below what it should be. However, many cities and tourist regions have decided to adopt strict rules to help control the spread and encourage more vaccinations.

One of those cities and regions is Los Cabos – where more than 80% of residents have received at least one shot from Covid – while social distancing, capacity limits and mandatory indoor mask warrants are part of their dedicated efforts to make it as safe as possible for tourists to visit. Tourism is absolutely vital for their economy.

“Travel is being redesigned and health and safety has become the priority of our continued commitment to provide a safer environment for all,” said Rodrigo Esponda, general manager of the Los Cabos tourism office. “Our stakeholders and tourism partners have a strong responsibility to provide a safer way of getting away from it all.”

Puerto Vallarta and the State of Jalisco have implemented similar measures. I have had similar reports from Mazatlán and some of the other more popular Mexican tourist destinations.

Cuba exports locally grown vaccines.

Continuing the story of Cuba that spoke of the country’s scientists creating their own vaccines – and expecting most of the population to be vaccinated by November, there have been some developments.

The challenge was and is the fact that the vaccine did not go through the rigorous approval process Moderna, Pfizer and the others had to go through. Nevertheless, a number of countries have purchased the Cuban product. Vietnam, Venezuela and Iran will soon start importing Cuban vaccine options, and Cuba has asked the World Health Organization to review the three vaccines they have developed, including approval to vaccinate. also toddlers.

Are mixed vaccines approved?

A number of countries have been unwilling to accept entry at their borders to people who have received mixed vaccines – such as a Pfizer vaccine and a Moderna vaccine. Although there is insufficient research and evidence available to absolutely prove equal efficacy to that of identical doses, at least one country has taken a leap forward with its own endorsement.

The St. Kitts Tourism Authority – which relies so heavily on Canadian tours to their country said yes, please come even if you have mixed doses. Nearly four million Canadians have been given mixed doses, so it seems hard to imagine anything other than a growing acceptance of mixed-dose entry allowances – especially in countries that depend on winter tourism dollars for them. stimulate their economy.

Cruise ships are sailing again.

It is the massive number of Covid infections on multiple ships that has drawn the world’s attention to the severity of COVID-19 and its ability to spread rapidly. Industry plunged and ports were closed to ships that would have preferred to continue sailing, despite the potential problems.

Canada has totally banned cruise ships from entering and has practically asked Canadians not to even consider taking a cruise. That may not have changed, but cruise ships are now sailing to many open ports around the world.

I haven’t seen any reports of the fill rate of ships that have started carrying passengers, but the cruise line clearly believes there is enough demand to start selling again. Most lines have options for winter navigation and most Mexican and Caribbean ports that rely on the number of people disembarking at each port stopover to support their economy are likely to welcome them with open arms.

It remains to be seen whether this affects the decision of others to visit these countries. Improved protocols on board ships can make navigation much more confident – but this vacation industry is still expected to be the slowest to recover.

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Ron Pradinuk

Ron Pradinuk
Travel writer

Writer and podcaster, Ron’s travel column appears in the Winnipeg Free Press every Saturday in the Destinations and Diversions section.

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