Cancun, Riviera Maya, Q.R. — Spanish hotel chain Riu announced Thursday the gradual closure of hotels in Mexico due to measures by the COVID-19 pandemic and the enormous impact on tourism caused by travel restrictions imposed by various countries.
Through a press release, the company announced that they hope to keep one or two hotels in operation in each of the destinations including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Costa Mujeres, Los Cabos, Mazatlán, Nuevo Vallarta and Guadalajara.
“Riu has created a crisis cabinet to make decisions on a daily basis in a situation that requires specific analysis and decision-making every day. At the moment, the forecast is that with the passing of days and with the reduction of the flow of markets, Riu Hotels in Mexico are gradually closing, depending on the occupational needs of the moment,” the company said in a statement.
They said that they will receive travelers who already had scheduled trips and “have not been able or have not wanted” to cancel, or who cannot return to their country of origin due to flight restrictions imposed by various nations.
According to the Mexico, Caribbean and Latin America Communications office, the measure is being taken due to the loss of tourists and the direct effects on the tourism sector due to the low flow of travelers from the COVID-19 pandemic, which in Mexico includes 118 cases and one death.
“The paralysis of markets around the world has led our hotels to a situation of operation with very low occupancies and the need to make decisions about hotel closings, adjusting the operation to the reality of the market at the moment,” the statement also said.
Throughout Cancun and Riviera Maya, the RIU chain includes 20 hotels and more than 11,500 hotel rooms and a staff of over 10,000. The area most affected so far by the lack of tourists is Riviera Maya, since a large part of its tourists came from Europe.
Many of the lodging centers that operate in the area have already disclosed to their employees the first measures that involve the dismissal of recently-entered workers, as well as early vacations. The company says several closures will begin March 23 for their Riu Lupita, Riu Tequila, Riu Playacar and Riu Palace México hotels in Riviera Maya, as well as the Riu Dunamar in Costa Mujeres.
President of the Coordinating Council of Riviera Maya, Lenin Amaro Betancourt, has assured that cancellations have increased 40 percent and that the situation is expected to become more critical as the spread of the virus increases and the number of country border closings increases.