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Cancun International Airport has climbed over 50 spots in the list of the world’s busiest airports for international travelers. This year, the airport ranks 10th in total international passenger traffic as the Mexican Caribbean prepares for a record winter season.
Cancun International Airport is by far the largest in the Mexican Caribbean. The airport has already handled more than 22 million passengers this year, and with the winter season fast approaching, officials expect the airport to keep up the pace. International travel has made a strong comeback after COVID-related measures were completely removed in most countries, with Cancun recently scrapping mandatory mask-wearing at its airport and flights.
New statistics published this week by Airports Council International (ACI) reveal that Cancun airport is one of the busiest in the world in terms of international passenger traffic. The airport ranks 10th in the world, having climbed some 50 places after COVID put a halt to people’s travel plans.
Although figures for 2022 will be revealed later, in 2021 Cancun International Airport saw more than 13.2 million international travelers pass through its doors. The number is all the more impressive as it managed to beat Mexico City’s figure of over 2 million travellers.
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According to the report published by Airports Council International, “the ranking of passenger traffic reflects a positive recovery trend, with the busiest airports returning to the top 10 busiest airports”. That’s good news for Cancun International Airport, which is the backbone of the Mexican Caribbean’s booming tourism industry.
Cancun International Airport is one of the best-connected airports in the country, with dozens of nonstop flights to the United States alone. Meanwhile, passengers can fly directly to the tropical destination from several airports across much of Canada, Europe and South America.
The Mexican Caribbean remains Mexico’s main tourism hotspot and is the favorite destination for millions of sun-seeking North Americans. The summer season has been extremely successful for the region, generating long queues at the airport and full hotels in tourist magnets like Cancun, the Riviera Maya and Isla Mujeres.
Despite the start of the low season in September, millions of tourists are expected to flock to the area to bask in the Caribbean sun and enjoy its now Sargassum-free beaches. More and more visitors are expected to travel to Cancun as the winter season approaches. Colder weather across much of North America means people are looking to vacations in the southern heat.
The increase in travel has led to long queues at busy customs and immigration checks at the airport. Travelers and tourism organizations have expressed concern over this, urging authorities to take steps to reduce wait times.
With projections showing a record winter travel season, authorities recently decided to test a new electronic passport control system at Cancun airport. The new simplified entry check is currently only available to US and Canadian travelers, although it may be extended to citizens of other countries in the future. Additionally, the airport has installed electronic check-in kiosks in its busy Terminal 3, further speeding up departure formalities.
Under this mechanism, travelers only need to scan their boarding pass and passport at the new electronic gates, making it easier than ever to enter the region. The measures follow the removal of the mandatory FMM travel form, which was scrapped in August. The move is part of a broader effort by authorities to reduce red tape and reduce long waiting times at immigration. Some arriving travelers have had to wait up to two hours in long immigration and customs lines this year.
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