The recovery of governmental travel in Mexico after H1N1. Perspective post-COVID.

The recovery of governmental travel in Mexico after H1N1. Perspective post-COVID.

User Rating: 2 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

The COVID-19 pandemic, or SARS-CoV-2, is affecting the economies of all countries and territories around the world. Even in the People's Republic of China, South Korea, the Republic of China (Taiwan) or Singapore -countries that have overcome the hardest phases of the pandemic-, the impact has meant a fall in their respective GDPs in the first quarter of 2020.

One of the most affected sectors by the COVID-19 has been Tourism, including the different means of transport, accommodation, catering, intermediation and other auxiliary services. Consequently, travel by governmental and institutional representatives in the exercise of their duties, as well as the holding of bilateral meetings, summits, forums and conferences, have been temporarily affected by the pandemic. Many of these travels have been postponed or have been conducted virtually.

However, this situation is not new in the framework of COVID-19. Previous pandemics or epidemics, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries, forced the temporary suspension of governmental and institutional displacement. An example of this is the pandemic caused by the H1N1 virus, known as swine flu pandemic, between 2009 and 2010.

The 2009 H1N1 outbreak, which originated in Mexico -a country where tourism represents more than 8% of its GDP- caused it to lose some 10 billion Euros, as the income derived from international tourism fell by around 15% during the whole year, and costing it almost 7% of its GDP. At the peak of the outbreak, Mexico registered a drop in traveler arrivals of approximately 65%. According to data from the Secretariat of Tourism of Mexico , the impact on the sector resulted in a fall of almost 13 points over the previous year. However, the recovery for the tourism sector came at the end of the same year, when the North American country registered only 1.4% fewer travelers compared to the same month in 2008. Despite the WHO declared the end of the pandemic in August 2010, Mexico already recorded a significant containment of the fall in arrivals in the final stretch of 2009.

In fact, this type of pandemic, once controlled and/or eradicated, usually generates a very characteristic 'V'-shaped effect. The case of Mexico is perfect example, as the fall of up to 5 points in the arrival of international travelers during 2009 contrasts with the rise of almost 7 points experienced the following year, in 2010 (Figure 1).

In purely economic terms, with Mexico as an example, having experienced the worst record of H1N1, income from international travelers went from about 950,000,000 euros (2008) to 800,000,000 euros (2009), and from there to approximately 900,000,000 euros (2010) (Figure 2). From 22,637,000 international travelers in 2008, Mexico suffered a loss of 1,183,000 travelers with 21,454,000 trips to the country, experiencing a rapid recovery in 2010 with 22,589,000 international arrivals.

With respect to governmental and institutional travel, as well as other sectors such as MICE, they account for more than 6% of Mexico's inbound tourism. However, during the H1N1 pandemic, despite the notable decrease in arrivals, three major events were held in Mexico in the context of international relations: the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama in April, the Showcase & Travel Expo also in April, and the North American Leaders' Summit in August. The following year, there was a significant increase in the number of these international summits: in February, the first CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Summit was held in Playa del Carmen; Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, visited Mexico in April 2010; in October the III AMERIPOL Summit was held in Mexico City; in September Mexico's 200th anniversary of independence was commemorated, with international leaders in attendance; and in November the COP16 (International Conference on Climate Change) begins in the city of Cancun.

These latest figures reflect the fact that international relations and the holding of events continue to take place normally once the pandemic has been contained or eradicated. In fact, the case of Mexico illustrates the measures that the international community usually takes in such cases; as it is one of the countries that was most affected by H1N1, it was proposed, at the end of COP15 in Copenhagen (Denmark), to hold the next edition in Mexico.
Although the international impact was somewhat smaller than that of COVID-19, the example of Mexico's recovery, both in terms of international tourism and travel by governments and institutions, as well as the holding of events, summits and forums, provides an important prism to be analyzed with respect to sector's recovery. Certain Asian countries, such as those mentioned at the beginning of the text, are experiencing a recovery or containment that is very similar to Mexico's in economic terms, so it would be foreseeable that the recovery of the tourism industry, and governmental travel, will present a scenario similar to that of Mexico after the H1N1 outbreak.

© 2014- 2024 Tourism Optimizer Platform. All Rights Reserved.

Please publish modules in offcanvas position.