Mexico says ‘hola’ to a lot more visitors

By Bob Schulman

Photo credit: Cancun CVB.The next time you flake out on one of those sugary beaches in Mexico you might have a little more company. Chances are, though, you won’t notice it, given the 28,000 miles of shoreline down there. Still, the latest tourism figures show our neighbor south of the border jumped from the world’s 15th most visited country in 2013 to the globe’s 8th most popular destination last year. That’s the largest increase in position of any of the top 25 most visited countries.

The numbers, from annual rankings just announced by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), pegged Mexico’s growth in international visitors at an average of 10 percent a year since 2013 -- double the global industry average. What’s more, a whopping 35 million foreigners bunked down in Mexico’s resorts, hotels and inns last year, setting an all-time record.

Officials noted that a surge in demand for vacations in Mexico prompted the airlines to add more than 2 million seats to their transborder flights so far in 2017.

“For three years in a row, Mexico has continued an impressive climb in the UNWTO rankings,” said the country’s Minister of Tourism Enrique de la Madrid. Beyond sun and sand attractions, he attributed the growth to Mexico’s “mega-biodiversity, nature and adventure, gastronomy, luxury, high-profile events like F1, cultural traditions such as Day of the Dead, and the weddings, romance, meetings and events segments.”

Photo credit: Acapulco CVB.

“(The growth in international tourism) is a clear recognition of the numerous advancements in Mexico’s tourism industry, from the diversification of markets to expansion in offerings for travelers from around the world,” said Hector Flores, CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board. “Our strategic plan and close collaboration with our industry partners, as well as personalized engagement in our marketing and promotional campaigns, propelled us here. We are excited to continue the momentum through 2017 and beyond.”

The country’s goal is to host 50 million international arrivals by 2021.

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