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Tourism Business in Mexico Is Booming

Pyramid of the Magician in the ancient city of Uxmal
Credit: f9photos | Bigstock

The tourism business in Mexico is booming. The country’s secretary of tourism announced recently that nearly 40 million tourists visited Mexico in 2017 and that number could continue growing at a rate of around four million a year. The 2017 tally was up by 4.2 million, or 12 percent from 2016.

It appears the world is beginning to recognize what expats in Mexico have known for years: Mexico is a great place to spend time and money, and live.

Even with daily headlines and advisories warning of violence in Mexico, world travelers just keep coming at an ever increasing rate, lured by a favorable exchange rate, balmy beach resorts, colorful colonial cities, the warmth and friendliness of the Mexican people and much, much more.

Mexico is now the eighth most visited country in the world, still far behind #1 ranked France, which hosts over 80 million visitors each year. Which countries are still ahead of Mexico? The U.S and Spain are tied for the #2 spot with about 75 million visitors each. The rest of the top 10 most visited countries in descending order are: China, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, Thailand and Malaysia.

Tourism in Mexico is big business, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. Here are a few eye-openers:

  • Travel and tourism’s direct contribution to the economy of Mexico is well over 7 percent and is expected to rise to nearly 8 percent by 2027.
  • The tourist industry directly employs about 8 percent of the workforce in Mexico.
  • If you add jobs indirectly supported by the tourism industry, that number swells to nearly 17 percent.

Mexico’s secretary of tourism said the country is on track to become the fifth most visited country in the world by 2021 and visitors spent over US$21 billion in the country just last year. About 80 percent of all tourists were Americans.

Interestingly, just half of all visitors arrive by air, mainly from the U.S. but increasingly from Canada, Argentina, Colombia and the United Kingdom. Another 17 million arrive by land, crossing borders shared with the U.S., Guatemala and Belize. Cruise ship visitors are growing, also, up over 18 percent last year versus 2016.