There no longer seems any doubt that the Zika scare has wrought havoc with tourism to Florida. In a study conducted by Allianz Travel Insurance, advance air bookings for the coming winter to the entire state of Florida are down by 15 percent. And bookings for specific resort cities in Florida are down by a devastating 29 percent to Miami, 32 percent to Tampa, and 15 percent to Palm Beach.
So the American public is voting with its feet not to favor Florida as a vacation destination this coming winter. And there is increasing talk among travel professionals that the vacation trend is towards "safe haven" travel: destinations where there exists little threat to the safety of the tourists choosing them. An extreme example of safe haven travel is dog sledding in Alaska and adventure cruises to the Arctic.
On a more realistic basis, travel professionals are predicting that Mexico will enjoy a major comeback this coming winter among sun-worshiping Americans. The Mexican peso is now exchanged at a remarkable near-20 to the dollar, and everything in Mexico is now unusually cheap for the American traveler. The unsettled nature of the upcoming American presidential election, with the possibility of protectionist attitudes directed against Mexico, is one of the reasons for the weakness of the Mexican currency. And an apparent decline in drug-related violence in Mexico is another reason why American vacationers are being told that Mexico is now approaching safe haven status.
At a currency exchange rate of 20 Mexican pesos to the U.S. dollar, Mexico is nigh-irresistible to American visitors this winter. By going to such packagers as AppleVacations.com, Americans will find air-and-land vacations to Mexico (that include not only round-trip airfare but also accommodations and three meals a day for one week) in such desirable locations as Cancun and the Maya Riviera selling for unprecedented low prices.
And those resort properties, as well as the entire area, are regarded as acceptably safe and free from violence. Cancun and its Caribbean coast are near the heaviest population areas of the United States, and low resort costs are therefore combined with low airfares for reaching the desired destinations.
From the West Coast of the United States, the price equivalent of Cancun and the Maya Riviera is the resort district located at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula around such towns as Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. The winter weather there is glorious and the price bargains are the equivalent of those offered to East Coasters off the Yucatan Peninsula (Cancun and the Maya Riviera).
It's time to start thinking about Mexico for the cold weather season ahead.
Credit: David Stanley