Cozumel.- The diving and snorkeling sector of the Island of Cozumel reported a loss of more than 5.5 million dollars from March to June, given that 90% of its market is foreign, so the industry was completely paralyzed.
Around 100 diving houses operate in this tourist destination, which was directly affected by the suspension of recreational aquatic activities, which caused about 40 thousand diving and snorkeling tours to be lost, among cancellations of reservations and groups from the beginning of this pandemic.
In an interview with Mar de Fondo Online, the president of the National Association of Aquatic and Tourist Operators (ANOAT) in Cozumel, Cesar Cepeda Escamilla, assured that if the situation is not restored as soon as possible, the losses will reach up to 9 million dollars by the end of August, which leaves the sector in a very uncertain scenario.
As for jobs, he said that there are about 400 employees on staff, of which 90% of the divers come from abroad, and the remaining 10% are local, so it is expected that some dive houses are at a point of disappearing as it cannot function, sinking into economic losses.
Asked about the outlook for the sector with the new normality, he acknowledged that operating expenses will be very difficult to pay, since with 30 percent of capacity on each vessel it is impossible to maintain prices for tours that are between $70 and $ 90 per person.
Cepeda Escamilla added that some businesses in this tourism industry have reopened their doors, since some reservations had been scheduled since January, so that until now they have had no sales, and the more than 200 boats that are dedicated to This business has had to stop, while the foreign market normalizes at the destination.
For his part, when interviewed by the Administrator of the Dive House “Dive With Martin”, Julio Aguilar Perera, said that so far, as marked by state and municipal authorities, each vessel must have its respective maritime certification, as well as complying with the disinfection of the diving equipment that is carried out safely.
He emphasized that the staff has courses taught by the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), as well as that of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI).
In this way, he agreed that expectations are many but the reality with the new normality is that the percentage will be very low in the coming months, although he stressed that they are already working with foreigners living in the municipality, in sport fishing and diving, to so that a full revival of the local economy and the tourism sector can be achieved soon.