MEXICO CITY, May 13 (Reuters) - The Mexican tourist hotspot Los Cabos will begin re-opening in June, the local tourism board said on Wednesday, part of a plan for bringing the beach resort, located at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, back to life after the coronavirus crisis forced a shutdown of the Mexican economy.
About 40% of hotels will open on June 1 under strict hygiene measures, while the remainder will gear up to open by year’s end, the director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board, Rodrigo Esponda, said in an interview.
Also in June, airlines will begin adding more flight routes from the United States. By the fall, weddings that had been planned for the spring will be able to take place.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday announced a plan to loosen coronavirus restrictions and revive certain sectors, including the automotive industry, as early as May 18. He had previously said tourism would be among other sectors allowed to reboot beginning in June.
The Los Cabos Tourism Board said in a statement that Los Cabos expects to restore 60% of its air connectivity and 80% of bookings by the first quarter of 2021, marking the final piece of a five-phase reopening plan.
Esponda said he expects sales to fall 40% this year compared with 2019, after Los Cabos shut down at the start of April.
“The objective is for the inventory of hotels and activities to be gradually added back so that as more tourists arrive we would be reopening,” Esponda said. “By the year’s end we should have all (hotels) reopened.”
Returning visitors will notice some changes, including health screenings at airports and cruise ship docks. Authorities will encourage visitors to keep a distance from one another and instruct workers in cleaning protocol and how to monitor for possible cases of the virus.
Esponda said 80% of the 3.2 million visitors to Los Cabos, located where the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez converge, every year come from abroad, mostly the United States, drawn by luxury resorts and timeshare properties.
Although public health worries scared off many tourists in the key spring break season, some college students still flocked to Los Cabos in March. From a group of more than 200 students that visited from the University of Texas at Austin, 49 people tested positive for the coronavirus upon their return to the United States. (Reporting by Sharay Angulo; Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Leslie Adler)