The Mexican Caribbean is emerging as a tourism powerhouse, with Playa del Carmen and Akumal surpassing even the iconic Cancun in hotel occupancy rates in 2023.
The Caribbean coast saw a remarkable 8% increase in tourism compared to 2022, translating to over 21 million visitors, according to Mexico’s Federal Secretariat for Tourism (Sectur). This influx generated a staggering US$21 billion in economic activity, a 12% jump from the previous year.
Playa del Carmen enjoyed an 83% room occupancy between January and October. This alternative to Cancun offers the tranquility sought by many, making it a top choice for relaxation and cultural immersion.
Akumal, a hidden gem, surprised even the most seasoned tourism experts. Despite its comparatively small hotel inventory, it secured the second-highest average occupancy rate in Mexico. Its allure lies in its adults-only retreats and pristine white-sand beaches, providing an intimate and luxurious escape.
Meanwhile, Cancun is gearing up for a record-breaking winter season. Tourism entrepreneurs anticipate 1.8 million travelers gracing its beaches during this winter.
Infrastructure advancements are further fueling the Mexican Caribbean’s success. Quintana Roo, the state encompassing these destinations, boasts four international airports, with a brand new one in Tulum opening its doors in December 2023.
This upward trend is projected to continue in 2024, fueled by ongoing infrastructure projects like the recently innaugurated Mayan Train and the expansion of Cancun International Airport.