Rising Tourism Demand in Riviera Maya Spurs Cancun International Airport Expansion

The Cancun International Airport is expanding to meet rising tourism demand in Mexico’s Riviera Maya region, according to its 2019-2023 investment plan released by ASUR, which is the nation’s leading airport operator. Already modern in design and focused on providing a premier experience for visitors from around the world, the new investments will take the airport to another level of high-tech luxury. 

The Cancun International Airport is poised for additional expansion as the booming destination continues to smash visitor records,” wrote TravelPulse. “Cancun is Mexico’s second-busiest airport, behind only Mexico City.”

The new investments have been spurred by more than a decade of rising tourism numbers in Cancun and the Riviera Maya region, which collectively receive more travelers than any other tourist destination in Mexico. The rapid expansion mirrors Mexico’s impressive overall air connectivity growth, with the country adding more than 1.5 million seats on direct flights in 2019 alone

ASUR has already allocated more than $300 million USD to build a new Terminal 5 at the Cancun International Airport, and money will also be spent to complete a number of other upgrades over the next few years. This also includes improvements at a nearby airport on Cozumel island, which has experienced a rapid increase of passenger traffic in recent years, due in part to its close proximity to downtown Playa del Carmen. In total, the airport’s master development plan includes a total investment of 1.2 billion USD over the next 15 years.

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Coronavirus Affect on Airport Travel to Cancun 

Flights have been steadily increasing since ASUR announced the reopening of the airport for national and international flights following the COVID-19 shutdown in early June. Since then, changes have been made throughout the entire travel and tourism industry in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, so travelers can enjoy safe stays and rest assured that all new health and security standards are being met. 

“The reactivation must be gradual, with open communication between the tourism sectors so they can help visitors schedule their next vacation secure with the knowledge that their flight will depart and the resort will be ready to receive them,” wrote the Riviera Maya News.

Earlier this year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Cancun International Airport reported a 4.1 percent increase in the number of travelers compared to 2019, and that trend is expected to continue as international air travel picks back up in the coming months.

“Flights are still a long way from arriving full, but the increase in the number of flights is evidence that airlines see the potential for recovery,” shared Dario Flota Ocampo, who serves as the general director of tourism for Cancun and the Riviera Maya region.

He also expects to see the reinstallation of many airlines between the United States and Cancun over the next 15 days. Some flights to Cozumel have also started happening again, and a gradual increase in the occupation of hotels and reactivation of different tourist products is expected to normalize over the coming weeks.

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