2022 was a strong year for tourism to Yucatan
The tourism minister for the Mexican state of Yucatan says her jurisdiction enjoyed a strong 2022, attracting large numbers of overnight visitors and those visiting on day trips alike.
Michelle Fridman Hirsch said the state last year saw 2.1 million tourists who spent at least one night in the state and another 1.5 million who spent at least part of a day there as well.
Many of those on day trips travelled from Cancun and the Riviera Maya in the Caribbean-fronting state of Quintana Roo to Yucatan’s famed archeological site of Chichen Itza, an impressive reminder of the Maya legacy in the state.
But Fridman Hirsch said during Mexico’s annual tourism show of Tianguis in March — held in Mexico City this year — that Chichen Itza is just one of many Maya archeological sites in Yucatan.
Among others is Uxmal, known for its imposing Pyramid of the Magician.
“Every corner in Yucatan has a story to tell,” Fridman Hirsch said, noting Maya traditions, clothes and food are easily seen in Yucatan.
“It (the Maya past) is part of our heritage. Yucatan feels so strongly proud about being Maya.”
Yucatan is seeing its tourism infrastructure grow, with Fridman Hirsch reporting it now has nearly 16,000 hotel rooms.
The city of Merida has become a popular stop on the tourist circuit, in part because of its colonial architecture.
Yucatan is actively providing tourism training, particularly to rural communities in an effort to create new tourism offerings and bring tourism dollars to those that have not received them before. The tourism ministry recently announced that 113 traditional cooks, mainly from the Maya regions in the southern part of the state, had concluded the “Awareness and Tourist Training Program for Traditional Yucatan Cooks.”
But Fridman Hirsch adds that Yucatan history well predates the Maya civilization, with Yucatan having been identified as the site of the meteor strike blamed for the extinction of the dinosaurs. The crater created by the impact has been identified and tourists can learn of that dramatic development through area museum visits.
“We have the story of the dinosaurs and the meteor,” she says.
Fridman Hirsch is quick to praise coastal Cancun as a great tourist destination that Yucatan is happy to cooperate with but adds that newish Cancun can’t compete with her jurisdiction when it comes to the past.
“Yucatan has millions of years of history,” she states. “Cancun has 60.”