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WTTC says Cancun travel successful due to control, not border closures

Cancun, Q.R. — The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) is calling on countries to keep borders open through the homologation of health travel protocols in response to the current pandemic situation. The call is in response to new virus variants being discovered around the world.

The organization says at this time, although COVID-19 infections have been countered by advances in vaccinations, the industry also faces new challenges such as the spread of the Delta variant, which is more contagious than other strains.

The organization representing the world tourism sector points out that the homologation of protocols is the solution to continue with open borders.

Maribel Rodríguez, senior vice president and acting CEO of the WTTC says the prospects in Mexico are encouraging for the tourism is sector due to the opening of borders that has been maintained since the beginning of the pandemic.

“What can affect the [travel] crash is mistrust. Once we have the ability to move, what we must demonstrate is confidence. In the case of Mexico, I know that there are flights from Europe that want to go to Mexico which has the competitive advantage since they do not require quarantine,” she says.

Regarding the advance of Delta, a variant classified as “of concern” by the World Health Organization, some regions such as the United Kingdom and Australia have been particularly affected, which has led to the resumption of talks on the closure of borders and the cancellation of flights, an option that is not viable for the WTTC.

“At the WTTC we say if there is an accelerated vaccination, if there is a test, if there are protocols and if there is an immunity card, we do not agree with the economy stopping and the borders closing,” said the directive.

Mexico stands out as one of the few in the world that did not implement restrictions on the entry of foreign tourists, which has facilitated its recovery, especially in markets that feed on US tourists.

“Regarding Latin America, one of Mexico’s great values is that as it has had fewer restrictions, it has benefited from travel, especially from North Americans and from countries with more advanced vaccinations. In the Caribbean area, as in Cancun and Yucatan, we already see levels even above 2019.”

In the long term, Rodríguez says she sees some structural changes in the industry such as the digitization of travel and a change in the behavior of tourists, in addition to an expectation that the presence of the virus will continue for some time.

“We have to learn to live with this (…) there comes a point where the private sector has no more stamina. We must continue working on common protocols to have a global framework.”

Earlier this week, Alejandra Aguirre Crespo, the State Secretary of Health for Quintana Roo, reported seven cases of the Delta variant throughout the state.

“It is very likely that we also have some other variants due to the geographical distance we have with Yucatan, because we are in a tourist state where we receive a large number of tourists from many parts of the world, and that is a challenge,” she said.

On Tuesday, Hugo López-Gatell, the Undersecretary of Health announced that an official Covid-19 vaccine certificate is available online from the Government of Mexico. He said that the certificate is official proof of vaccination and can be used for travel purposes.