Cancún is Mexico's busiest airport for foreign visitors. Cancún is Mexico's busiest airport for foreign visitors.

Foreign tourism up 1.6% in first 10 months; October saw bigger increase

Arrivals totaled 15.5 million, 55.5% of whom came from the United States

The number of international tourists arriving by air increased 1.6% in the first 10 months of the year compared to the same period of 2018, according to Tourism Secretary Miguel Torruco Marqués.

He told reporters that 15.52 million foreign visitors entered the country via the nation’s airports between January and October. Of that number, 55.5% came from the United States, 11.4% from Canada, 3.2% from the United Kingdom, 3.1% from Colombia and 2.2% from Argentina, he said.

Tourists from the five nations represent just over three-quarters of all visitors who arrived in Mexico by air this year. Their numbers increased 0.3% compared to the first 10 months of 2018.

Torruco said that air arrivals from Peru recorded the biggest growth between January and October, increasing by 14.7%. France, Colombia and Canada followed, with air arrivals up by 9.1%, 7.3% and 7% respectively.

Cancún was the busiest airport for foreign arrivals, receiving 41.7% of all international visitors, followed by Mexico City with 26.6%; Los Cabos with 9.3%; Puerto Vallarta with 7.7%; and Guadalajara with 5.8%. More than 90% of foreign visitors flew into those five airports.

October was a particularly good month for international tourist numbers although individual visitors spent less on average while in the country than a year earlier. More than 1.63 million foreign visitors came to Mexico by air or land, a 4.4% increase compared to October 2018 and 27.3% more than in September this year.

Of that number, 83% of tourists arrived by air and 17% crossed into the country via Mexico’s borders with the United States, Guatemala and Belize, according to data from the national statistics agency, Inegi.

The tourists collectively spent US $1.33 billion while in the country, or an average of $816.90 each. The latter figure represents a 4.3% decline compared to October 2018 when tourists spent US $853 each on average. However, as a result of the higher visitor numbers, overall expenditure was equal to that of a year earlier.

The number of people who crossed into Mexico for reasons other than tourism, such as to access medical and dental services in northern border cities, also increased in October. Just over 1.99 million “border tourists” came to Mexico, a 30.8% increase compared to October last year.

They spent US $113 million while in the country, a 24.6% increase over expenditure in October 2018.

Source: 24 Horas (sp), El Economista (sp) 

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