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Archaeological Tourism in Yucatán down 66% in 2020 due to Covid and weather

- January 8, 2021

“The influx to museums and archaeological sites in Mexico decreased by 73.3 percent during 2020, compared to the previous year, due to the closure as a result of Covid-19, and to a lesser extent, due to the presence and effects of cyclones and intense rains that impacted the country”, reported the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

Although in Yucatán, the decrease was 66.1 percent, Chichén Itzá became the most visited archaeological zone in the country, ousting Teotihuacán.

Chac Mool Mayan god of rain in Temple of the Columns / Chichén Itzá, Yucatán (Archive)

After the appearance of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes the Covid-19 disease in the Mexican Republic, it was decided to close the 178 archaeological zones open to the public as well as the 101 museums in the country, starting off the last week of March, and gradually they began to open in September, although many places have not yet reopened (and many more never will).

In 2020, there were seven million 304 thousand 479 tourists, of which four million 454 thousand 718 went to the areas of the archaeological monument and two million 849 thousand 761 visitors went to museums.

The national influx decreased by 73.4 compared to the total reported in 2019, whose sum was 27 million 456 thousand 582 people, of which, 16 million five thousand 589 went to archaeological sites and 11 million 450 thousand 993 to museums.

Tourist arrivals fell 72.2 percent and 75.1 percent, respectively.

Likewise, of the total number of walkers corresponding to 2020, five million 542 thousand 754 were national tourists, 75.88 percent, and one million 761 thousand 725 were foreigners.

Uxmal, Yucatán (Archive)

For the first time in nine years, Chichén Itzá became the most visited pre-Columbian city in the country, ousting Teotihuacán, which was in the highest place from 2012 to 2019.

Thus, this year, Chichén Itzá was visited by 823 thousand 795 tourists, 29.2 percent, followed by Teotihuacan, in the State of Mexico, with 702 thousand 13 people, 24.9 percent, and Tulum, Quintana Roo, with 624 thousand 431 passersby, the 22.1 percentage.

Only these three sites were visited by 76.2 percent of the total visitors, according to the statistics provided, and the rest were distributed in the 175 remaining archaeological zones, with the exception of Cuauhtochco and Teayo Castle, both in Veracruz. where the influx was zero.

While Uxmal was located in sixth place nationally, with 2.67 percent of the national total; Ek’Balam is in the fourteenth place, 1.16 percent; Dzibilchaltún is in the seventeenth step, 0.92 percent, and Mayapán, in position 23, 0.51 percent.

Chichén Itzá, Yucatán (Archive)

Situation in Yucatan

In the specific case of Yucatán, during the past year, archaeological and museum tourism was 1,149,413 visitors, with a decrease of 66.1 percent compared to 2019, when the accumulated number was 3,391,477 tourists. .

Likewise, of the total visitors, one million 502 thousand 31 were nationals, 44.29 percent, and one million 889 thousand 446 foreigners, 55.71 percentage.

Similarly, the influx was distributed over a thousand sites, with one million 122 thousand 769, as well as 26 thousand 644 entered the museums, entered the Regional Museum of Anthropology and History “Palacio Cantón”, which ranked fourteenth national in influx and thousand 783 to the Pinacoteca de Mérida “Juan Gamboa Guzmán”.

73.37 percent of archaeological tourism went to Chichén Itzá, followed by Uxmal, with 119 thousand 24 people, 10.6 percent; Ek’Balam, with 51,580 passers-by, 4.59 percent, and Dzibilchaltún, with 40,980, 3.65 percent.

Dzibilchaltún, Yucatan (Archive)

Also, Mayapán, with 22 thousand 758 visitors, 2.03 percent; Xkambó, with 13,448 incomes, 1.2 percent, and Kabáh, with 12 thousand 15, 1.07 percentage.

The rest of the sites were left with less than one percentage, such as the Grutas de Loltún, with 8,614 attendees, 0.77 percent, followed by Izamal, with 8,554; Labna, with 4,792; Sayil, with 4,575, Aké, with 4,354, and the Balamcanché Grottoes, with 2,309.

Similarly, Oxkintok, with 2,300 tourists; Acanceh, with 2,264; Chacmultún, with 738, and Xlapac, with 669.

In Mexico, the first infected with Covid-19 appeared on February 27 of this year, and 17 days later, on March 13, the first case was registered in Yucatán.

As a result of the pandemic, Chichén Itzá closed its doors on March 20, a day after the spring equinox, while the remaining 16 archaeological sites, as of March 23.

Ek Balam, Yucatán (Archive)

After 175 days, on September 14, the sites of Ek’Balam, Izamal, Mayapán, Uxmal, and Xkambó were reopened, while the 22 of that month was the reopening of Dzibilchaltún, after 183 days, and Chichén Itzá, after 186 days.

Due to the passage and the effects of Hurricane Delta, these archaeological zones closed from October 5 to 10, with the exception of Dzibilchaltún, whose date was extended for several more weeks.

Subsequently, Chichén Itzá, Ek’Balam, Izamal, Mayapán, Uxmal, and Xkambó, closed again, from 26 to 29, before the passage and aftermath of the tropical storm Gamma.

Dzibilchaltún reopened on December 2, but closed on December 23, a measure that was taken to cut the transmission chain of Covid-19, since one of the State Government workers tested positive for the deadly pathology, and reopened the last Monday 4.

Finally, after the closure of the sites as a result of Covid-19, on March 23, 10 pre-Hispanic cities are still not open to tourism, specifically, Acanceh, Aké, Chacmultún, Grutas de Balamcanché, Grutas de Loltún, Kabah, Labná , Oxkintok, Sayil and Xlapac.

Temple of the Jaguar in Ek Balam, Yucatán (Archive)

The closure of Ek’Balam, Izamal, Mayapán, Uxmal and Xkambó lasted 183 days, while Chichén Itzá was 194 days, while Dzibilchaltún was 249 days.

While Acanceh, Aké, Chacmultún, Grutas de Balamcanché, Grutas de Loltún, Kabah, Labná, Oxkintok, Sayil and Xlapac have been without influx for 284 days.

Source: YA

The Yucatan Post