Summer surges in air bookings to the Caribbean and Cancun

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Cancun's popularity among U.S. travelers to the Caribbean has jumped this year, compared with 2019.
Cancun's popularity among U.S. travelers to the Caribbean has jumped this year, compared with 2019. Photo Credit: ForwardKeys

Bookings for travel between the U.S. and the Caribbean, including Cancun, have recovered to just 2% below 2019 levels for the second and third quarters, according to an analysis by ForwardKeys.

Leading the way is Cancun, which between March 1 and April 20 saw an increase of 33% in bookings for travel through September from the U.S. compared with 2019.

Furthermore, noted ForwardKeys vice president of insights Oliver Ponti, arrivals in Cancun from the U.S. between the second week of March and April 20 were up 10% compared with 2019.

The bookings are thus far pointing toward especially heavy traffic from the U.S. to the Caribbean during the late summer, when hurricane season typically dampens traveler enthusiasm. From March 1 to April 20, Cancun received more than twice as many U.S. bookings for the week of Sept. 3 than it did in 2019. The Caribbean as a whole received nearly 50% more bookings for that week than in 2019.

The ForwardKeys data also points to a share shift in U.S. travelers for Caribbean destinations.

Winners right now include Cancun and Puerto Rico, while the Dominican Republic and Jamaica are among the losers.

"The reasons are that Mexico has performed exceptionally well as a destination throughout the pandemic by making strenuous efforts to keep welcoming visitors, and Puerto Rico is greatly assisted by being a U.S. territory, so flying there is a domestic trip unaffected by international travel restrictions," Ponti pointed out.

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