4/8/2024 - Economy and Finance

Mexico is the Country with the Highest Estimated Travel and Tourism Booking Revenue by 2024

By Eduardo Urzagasti

Mexico is the Country with the Highest Estimated Travel and Tourism Booking Revenue by 2024

Tourism in Mexico

In a landmark January announcement marking a milestone in the recovery and progress of Mexico's tourism sector, Secretary of Tourism Miguel Torruco Marques has revealed that Mexico is poised to receive an impressive $31 billion in international visitor revenue, surpassing pre-pandemic figures and setting a record in tourism foreign exchange earnings.

This increase, is proof of a resilient industry that has been able to overcome the challenges imposed by the global pandemic, maintaining an upward trajectory with growth of 25.7% more in 2023 and a promising 26.7% increase in 2024 over 2019 levels.

2024 promises to be a record year with the estimated arrival of more than 44 million international tourists, marking a 5.4% increase over the previous year, this figure demonstrates Mexico's growing attractiveness as a tourist destination worldwide.

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Another highlight is the projected revenue from inbound tourists by air, which amounts to almost US$26 billion by 2024, exceeding not only the 2023 estimates but also reflecting a significant growth of 31.9% compared to 2019.

With an estimate of consumption for tourism services of more than 228 billion dollars and an increase in hotel occupancy that implies 2% more than in 2023, Mexico is preparing for an exceptional 2024 in tourism.

In the words of Torruco Marqués, these figures are not just numbers, but the result of a tourism policy focused on inclusion and sustainable development. The completion of major projects that will improve air and land connectivity, along with the development of new tourism products, promise to further boost the sector.

The industry is not only looking to recover pre-pandemic numbers, but to surpass them, ushering in a new era of prosperity and growth for tourism in Mexico.

Tourism Consequences of 2023

The close of 2023 was particularly promising, with December registering significant increases in both the number of international tourists and their total spending. December became a historic month for tourism in Mexico, marking a milestone with the arrival of 2.9 million international passengers, the highest figure recorded for the year announced Torruco Marqués.

This year-end boost not only presaged a good immediate future for tourism in Mexico, but also reaffirmed the country's role as an undisputed leader in Latin America's tourism industry.

According to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), the country experienced a remarkable 10% increase in international tourist arrivals, with more than 42 million visitors, compared to more than 38 million in 2022.

In addition, foreign exchange income from tourism showed a healthy growth of almost 9%, reaching US$28.6 billion. The boom in revenue underscores the economic importance of tourism to the country.

Despite these encouraging figures, the average expenditure per tourist, at just over US$680, is down slightly by 1% compared to an average of US$687 in 2022. This highlights the need to continue improving and diversifying the tourism offer in order to increase spending per visitor.

More by Air Less by Land

Detailed analysis reveals that the increase in tourists is not limited to a single gateway. Border tourism in particular saw an impressive growth of over 18%, surpassing 15 million people.

Throughout 2023, the supply of seats on international flights experienced a 7.5% growth compared to 2022, totaling 34.9 million seats. This increase is testimony to the confidence and commitment of international airlines to Mexico, reinforcing its position on the world tourism map.

On the other hand, ground tourism decreased by 0.9%. This last point raises an alarm, pointing to challenges and opportunities to improve ground transportation infrastructure and services.

Mexico's air infrastructure has also experienced significant growth, with a 7.7% increase in the number of seats on domestic flights, reaching 80 million. This strengthening not only facilitates access to tourist destinations within the country, but also promotes domestic tourism, which is vital for regional economic development.

Regional analysis of passenger arrivals reveals that an overwhelming 76.3% came from North America, followed by travelers from the Caribbean, Central and South America (13.4%), Europe (9.7%) and Asia (0.6%). Mexico continues to attract a great diversity of visitors, strengthening cultural and economic ties with diverse regions of the world.

The Crucial Role of Tourist Guides

In a significant event highlighting the vital role of tourist guides in Mexico's tourism development, Nicolás Cruz Flores, Director of Tourism Certification for the Mexican Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR), emphasized the essential contribution of these professionals in the promotion and economic growth of the national tourism sector.

Representing Secretary Miguel Torruco Marqués during the International Tourist Guide Day Event, Cruz Flores recognized the importance of the guides in attracting both national and international tourists, offering them a professional interpretation of Mexican heritage and culture.

In recognition of their valuable service, Sectur has implemented measures to support these professionals, including exemption from payment for admission to museums and archeological sites, an initiative proposed by Torruco Marqués and approved in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit and the National Institute of Anthropology and History. The measure, in effect since 2024, reflects the government's commitment to promoting cultural tourism and valuing the work of guides.

In recent years, Sectur has issued almost 8,000 accreditations, evidencing the growth and professionalization of the sector. In addition, 95% of the accreditation procedures are now carried out virtually, through the platform guiadeturistas.sectur.gob.mx, which demonstrates an effort to modernize and facilitate the processes for guides.

Beyond the recognition of the guides, the event underscored the importance of projects such as the Mayan Train and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec corridor in the promotion of tourism. These initiatives, together with the improvement of tourism infrastructure and the creation of new tourism products, are fundamental to Sectur's goal of using tourism as a tool for social reconciliation.

In conclusion, the record reached in December 2023, the estimated figures for 2024 and the preponderant role of tourist guides, are a clear indicator that Mexico continues to strengthen its position as a first class tourist destination, ready to receive visitors from all over the world.




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Eduardo Urzagasti

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