Neither the military nor price increases keep visitors away from Huatulco; families and young people crowd the destination

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After two years locked up by the pandemic, tourists bet on this beach destination; the hope is to reach the full house

Huatulco, Oaxaca .- Little by little, La Crucecita beach begins to occupy itself. Children and adults run for shelter, some in the sea, others under umbrellas. The 38 degrees are not an obstacle for soldiers to monitor the area and arouse the admiration of the children who take pictures with them.

The first row of umbrellas, tables, and patches of people facing the sea corresponds to the families that come from Mexico City. They are the ones who prefer only to rent umbrellas from informal lenders who hunt them down from the street. They do it to save because the restaurants that provide services on the beach force tourists to spend a minimum of 250 pesos per person to use the tables and umbrellas.

This same strategy is reproduced in La Conexión bay, where tourists are also dissatisfied with the increase of between 20% and 30% in the prices of food or entertainment services such as bananassnorkeling and boat tours.


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But despite this, families and visitors enjoy living together, since it has been two years since the pandemic prevented them from taking vacations by the sea and enjoying the sun.

José Sánchez Salcedo, for example, is a veterinarian and professor at the  Universidad Veracruzana who lives in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, and who decided to spend his vacations in various tourist destinations on the Oaxacan coast. He started in Zipolite and Mazunte and ended up on the beaches of Huatulco. He chose to close his trip with a visit to several beaches not so saturated with families, although that is almost impossible in this season.

José was one of the thousands of teachers who began teaching online, so he moved his residence from Mexico City to his native Veracruz.

This 32-year-old professor set foot in the sea more than a year ago, since his last visit was in December 2020, when the pandemic had given a truce and the beach destinations in Oaxaca were the most attractive for having few Covid cases.

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After a second and third wave of infections, José Sánchez Salcedo decided not to go out again, until this Easter.

“After months locked up in my house giving online classes, I live under stress, so I left at the first opportunity. I also took a risk because I already have three vaccines and the infections have decreased. I opted for the beaches because they are open spaces, which reduces the chances of contagion,” says the young man sitting on Chahué beach, one of the quiet spaces intended for the young and adventurous population.

The expected recovery

La Crucecita, the main bay of Santa María Huatulco, has not yet reached the desired 100% occupancy that the Huatulco Hotel Association projects for the three highest days of Holy Week.

 Despite the fact that it seems full, established service providers consider that the destination barely reaches 80% of national family tourism, an acceptable percentage after two years in which it fell to 20%, forcing them to close for four months in 2020.

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Gustavo Ficachi, the president of the Huatulco Hotel Association, is positive in reporting that at Easter they will close with an occupancy of 92%, in addition to an economic spill of 327 million pesos, although it is not what the beach destination obtained most important in Oaxaca before the 2020 earthquake and the pandemic.

Despite this, in the last year of gradual recovery, an occupancy rate of up to 40% was reached during the low season: “A new phenomenon in Huatulco is the constant visit throughout the year. In other words, there has been a 40% constant presence of national and foreign tourists, before we only had high seasons: Easter, summer vacations and the end of the year, now we have tourists throughout the year, which helps us not to close or cut staff. It is a slow recovery, not as we would like, but permanent and that gives us hope”, explains the hotel manager.

The dynamics of the type of tourism after the pandemic remained familiar, although 60% is national and 40% international. What decreased was the presence of Canadians, due to the sanitary restrictions imposed by their country. Despite this, it is expected that at the end of the year the presence of this important vacation group will be reactivated, which remains for several months on the coastal strip.

As for the lessons that the pandemic taught them, Ficachi points out that even when the contingency caught them off guard, a permanent health protocol was established that included the vaccination of all restaurant and hotel staff; maintaining hygiene habits for visitors and service providers, take care of a healthy distance in public spaces, including the beach, as well as monitoring the situation.

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The Huatulco airport takes flight

In March of the current year, 85 thousand 194 passengers were served, while in 2018 80 thousand 118 were served and in 2019 the service was 84 thousand 219, so it is in this month of March when an increase was achieved. This situation is very encouraging since if we take the 2020 flights in this same month of March as a reference, the passengers served were 57,083 and in 2021 the figure was 45,618.

The domestic flights that arrive and fly from Huatulco to these destinations are: Mexico City, Oaxaca City, Monterrey City, and Tijuana.

On flights to Canada, there are direct flights from the cities of Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, from October 31, 2021, to April 23, 2022, by Westjet Airline.

And for the city of Toronto, there is another line, Air Canada, which also flies during the period from November 6, 2021, to April 26, 2022.

From the United States, there are flights on Saturdays from Chicago throughout the month of April 2022.

From Dallas by American Airlines on Tuesdays and Saturdays, flights ended on April 2, 2022, but resumed from June 4 to August 13, 2022.

And from St. Louis Missouri throughout the month of April, Viva Aereobús will be flying on Saturdays.

Thanks to these flights to date, 235,831 passengers have been served at this modern and beautiful airport.

The Oaxaca Post