For travel professionals, Mexico’s resort destinations feel safer than the United States: Travel Weekly
Donna Parent Alkarmi, owner of Lonestar trip, visited Mexico twice in the three weeks since Mexico reopened to tourism. Ronda Mathis Helton from The travel connection, has been traveling back and forth to Mexico since July 5.
Jennine cohen, a luxury and adventure travel expert specializing in Latin America, has chosen to stay in Mexico for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic. Sharon Walters, owner of Sharon Walters Trip, recently spent 12 days in Los Cabos, where she just built a house. And Kim Kessler, head of public relations at Costa careyes luxury estate in Jalisco, chose to settle permanently in Careyes following the public health crisis.
Their unanimous verdict: They feel safer in Mexico than in the United States, based on how the country has responded to the Covid-19 epidemic.
“I feel better here [Riviera Maya] than I do at home, “Helton said from her room at the Fairmont Mayakoba.” We extended our trip a few more days. ”
Helton is from Saint-Louis, which has seen a dramatic increase in Covid-19 cases since early July. “If we didn’t have our pets or things to take care of, I think I would stay put [in Mexico], “she added.
Alkarmi, likewise, was blown away by the new protocols, especially in the Cancun area. “I thought the airport was phenomenal,” she said. “It’s clean, everyone followed the social distancing rules, and every transfer company I saw at the airport was spraying luggage,” she said.
She said her recording experience at Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancun was also “phenomenal”.
“They installed hand sanitizers near every elevator,” Alkarmi said. “They are constantly cleaning. I felt super safe at Live Aqua.”
Likewise, Helton was also impressed with the arrival experience at Los Cabos International Airport. “From the moment we arrived at the Cabo airport, we knew they were taking this very seriously,” Helton said. “The transfer service was flawless and really exceeded our expectations. We had our temperature taken. Shoes, luggage, car seats were all disinfected before we could get into the SUV to take us to our resort.”
Los Cabos “is doing a lot more than we are here to prevent the spread of Covid,” Walters said. “When you go to a restaurant, cafe, hotel, local grocery store, you need to get your temperature checked. You disinfect your hands immediately. You need to put antibacterial products on your shoes. They watch you from the minute you walk in to the minute you leave. “
The resort experience
“While Mexico has had a nationwide containment plan, the president has turned control and enforcement over to governors, so the situation varies widely from state to state depending on local leaders,” said Cohen.
Beach resorts in popular tourist destinations are proving to be some of the best equipped to navigate the “new normal” and, for the most part, resorts follow the health and safety protocols they touted before reopening.
Cohen lived in Yucatan throughout the pandemic, which was one of the states that reported the lowest number of Covid-19 cases in Mexico. “I believe the governor has done a world class job with regard to aggressive state-level health and safety protocols, as well as bringing urgent supplies and medical care to vulnerable Mayan communities,” she declared. “The residents have definitely complied with local laws.”
Cohen said she would advise against sending clients to cities, like Mexico City, for example, whose security protocols and enforcement have been more lax.
When it comes to hotels, resorts and private villas, however, experts on the ground report that health and safety is of the highest priority, as promised. Kessler reports from Careyes that the luxury enclave has no cases of Covid-19 and has lifted the 14-day quarantine previously instituted, so travelers can come and explore the resort as soon as they arrive. Social distancing and the wearing of masks, however, are still strongly encouraged.
Professionals are impressed with the implementation of new protocols at companies like Palladium Hotel Group, La Coleccion, Velas Resorts, and Mayakoba, although there are sure to be plenty of other companies that impress agents at all levels as well.
“All of the resorts we have visited since July 5 have definitely put security measures in place,” Helton said. She has stayed at Grand Velas Los Cabos, Fives Oceanfront (which opened on July 24), Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Fairmont Mayakoba and Chable Maroma. “Right now I really see some stations setting the bar higher than others. This is really one of the reasons it was so important for me to see these safety measures in place for me and my family. . “
Room for improvement
It goes without saying that this is still a learning experience for the majority of the world. There are bound to be areas for improvement, and Mexico is no exception.
“You can tell everyone is adjusting however they can,” Helton said. “You have to come in with an open mind because you don’t know what the consistency will be.”
For example, Mexico now requires visitors to complete an Arrival Health Declaration Card, which can be downloaded to their phone prior to arrival. Passengers were told they would be required to submit this form upon arrival to customs officials, although the actual experience was inconsistent, depending on the airport and the day. Alkarmi reports that she never asked anyone to check her health form upon arrival, while several of her clients have experienced their forms being checked and collected efficiently.
This experience “however, did not take away from the way the airport handles cleanliness,” Alkarmi said. “Immigration felt secure, with lots of space, and I felt very confident.”
For Walters, it wasn’t the Mexican response that worried her, but the attitude of many Americans traveling to Los Cabos. “Mexicans were masks,” she said. “And while a lot of Americans were, neither were a lot.”
Mexico’s top tourist destinations continue to be regions trusted by travel professionals as a result of our “new reality”. In fact, Alkarmi is redirecting travel from other destinations to Mexico.
“I have done most of my summer trips to other destinations in the Caribbean and all have moved to Mexico because I feel comfortable traveling there,” she said. “[Mexico] does a phenomenal job when you compare it to the United States. I always feel safer there than at my own airport in the United States. That’s why I feel comfortable traveling there. That’s the reason I sell Mexico to customers. “
“Before I start working with clients, I now share this from the get-go: if you want to travel during this time of Covid-19, you have to be flexible, patient, understanding, respectful, kind,” Helton said. “We are all adjusting to the new normal and just trying to figure it out, because factors are constantly changing.”
She adds that if customers can’t follow these simple guidelines, they shouldn’t be considering traveling just yet.
It is also important to continue to convey guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to travelers. The CDC reminds travelers to consider the fact that they can still contract or transmit Covid-19 while traveling, especially if precautions like masks and sanitary facilities are not in place. Even if travelers do not have symptoms, they can still transmit Covid-19 to others.
If your clients are traveling, remind them to wash their hands frequently, maintain social distancing, and wear a cloth face covering in public.
Walters recommends aiming for non-stop flights, as this reduces the number of points of contact. The hardest part of containing the spread is the act of commuting, with so many moving parts. “I feel safe about all the actions that [Los Cabos] has taken to maintain cleanliness standards, ”she said. In fact, she recently turned away two of her clients who had planned a big trip to Kenya and Tanzania, recommending that they do something closer to home in Los Cabos instead.
Traveling now is a personal choice, even as countries open up to tourism. There is a way to do this safely, ethically, and in a way that protects those traveling around you and the destination you are visiting.