Merida is about to see a return of its handy direct flights to Miami. Photo: Getty

Merida’s direct flights to Miami resume Oct. 8, Yucatan’s travel ministry announced. Trips were priced in the US$500 range Thursday morning on American Airlines’ website.

The long-awaited route, an important option for Merida-area travelers wishing to avoid the long trek to Cancun, follows the reappearance of Merida-Houston nonstop flights on United’s schedule starting Nov. 1.

Up to 120 flights are potentially returning to Merida’s airport, said tourism officials, recovering more than 50% of its pre-coronavirus traffic.

“The increase in connectivity is a reflection of the synergies and joint work between the air transport industry and the state of Yucatan to give continuity to the recovery process and reestablishment of activities in the country and thus, with specific actions, support the local tourism industry, contribute, with responsible practices, to the recovery of tourist confidence to travel again and enhance the various tourist attractions, culture, nature and history of the state,” said Michelle Fridman, head of Yucatan’s Tourism Development Secretariat.

Already, Merida International Airport is operating more than 100 weekly flights, including Aeroméxico, which will increase from 40 to 46 a week in October.

Interjet will maintain 14 weekly flights to Mexico City, where rival Volaris also flies, including Monterrey, Guadalajara and Tijuana.

Mayair and Magnicharters will connect Yucatan with Cancun, with the latter airline also flying to Mexico City.

In addition to the increase in air connectivity, the iconic double-decker Turibus Merida has returned, Fridman said. The bus, which circles Merida’s historic sites while piping informative narration to curious visitors, was certified for its protocols against COVID-19, the tourism ministry said. It will offer five tours a day, seating at 40% capacity, starting at the ADO Paseo 60 terminal.

The Quinta Montes Molina Museum on the Paseo de Montejo was also certified as ready to reopen while the former Intercontinental hotel, now painted blue and taken over by the Hilton chain, is nearly completed, the ministry said.

Cruise ships still have yet to schedule a return to Progreso’s pier, however. Progreso Mayor Julián Zacarías Curi said that while 56 arrivals were scheduled for November before the coronavirus pandemic, so far no cruise lines have announced an itinerary.

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