Home Travel Mexico tourism rates remain high

Mexico tourism rates remain high

by Yucatan Times
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Following Mexico’s re-opening during COVID-19, the country’s tourism rates have peaked. According to data from Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), three times as many international tourists visited the country in May 2021 than the year prior, representing a 200% increase.

With border closures and travel restrictions, low tourism has plagued countries around the world; particularly countries who are tourism-dependent, including Fiji, Belize, the Maldives, and the Bahamas. The total tourism contribution for the Maldives, for example, is $3 billion, comprising 75.1% of the country’s total GDP.

While Mexico isn’t as reliant as some of its neighboring Caribbean countries, it goes without saying that the country is still negatively impacted by declining tourism rates, even with a recent spike.

Despite current high tourism rates, the number of international visitors still hasn’t reached pre-pandemic levels. For instance, in May 2019, there were nearly 97.4 million international visitors, compared to 2020, where Mexico received 23.3 international tourists.

On the other hand, average spending amounts have increased significantly. In May 2019, the average tourist spent $109 per day, compared to May 2021, where the average foreign tourist spent $182 per day, up by 67%.

Based on tourism numbers, the World Tourism Organization (WHO) ranked Mexico the third most visited country in 2020, compared to its seventh-place position in 2019. On a global scale, the World Tourism Organization revealed that international travel declined by 73% in 2020. As a result, many tourism-dependent countries were forced to borrow money from abroad.

Elsewhere, countries have tightened their coronavirus restrictions, making it difficult for visitors to travel there. Norway, Indonesia, and New Zealand are just a few countries that do not allow the majority of citizens from other countries in without proof of essential travel, and even then, they must follow strict quarantine rules immediately upon entering.

Travelers around the world have turned to Mexico for its ease of access and less restrictive COVID-19 screen process. In countries like the United States, many citizens have gone the extra mile to make travel possible and have explored several financial alternatives to fund international travel.

For example, senior citizens might opt for a reverse mortgage if they own majority equity in their property (always review reverse mortgage reviews before opting for this choice). Alternatively, as many credit card companies have offered debt forgiveness and extended interest-free payment deadlines, more Americans have the ability to travel to neighboring countries like Mexico.

As international tourists plan their finances and incorporate travel into their budget, tourism will continuously play an important role in Mexico’s economy, as it contributes 9% of the country’s total GDP. In tourism-dependent regions, like Cancun and Baja California Sur, it’s even more important.

Tourism Minister Miguel Torruco has predicted that the tourism industry will not make a complete pre-pandemic recovery until 2023, but so far, the numbers are optimistic.

Elsewhere in the world, tourism numbers vary. Prior to COVID-19, Mexico was the second most visited country in the Americas, behind the United States. Currently, it stands in third position. As the global tourism industry struggles, countries like Mexico are going the extra mile to encourage safe, outside-the-box travel. For instance, while hotspots in Mexico like Cancun and Baja California attract a barrage of tourists, the tourism industry (in Mexico and around the world) is focusing on more outdoor adventure and unique, off-the-beaten path experiences.

Over in the state of California, COVID-19 has impacted tourism rates 11 times harder than the 9/11 attacks. California, like other states and countries, is encouraging outdoor activities. While many indoor activities have closed, many hiking trails and camping sites remain open.

Other countries require strict mandates in order to visit a particular country. Travel and tourism generates $7.6 trillion annually, contributing just over 10% of the global GDP. The travel and tourism sector plummeted during COVID-19, generating $4.7 trillion.

Still, forecasts predict a slow and steady return to normal as more countries open up and more citizens explore other regions of their home countries. These countries are struggling to define unique strategies that both lure tourists back in without contributing to rising COVID-19 numbers, and one way to do this is by highlighting outdoor, limited-capacity adventures and excursions.

While different jurisdictions take different approaches to tourism, one thing is clear; there’s an increased push for local, outdoor exploration around the world.

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