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Tourists in Cancún. Tourists in Cancún. File photo

International tourism soared 138% in first three months of the year

More US tourists visited than in the first quarter of 2019

International tourist numbers surged in the first quarter, bringing relief to a sector that was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and associated restrictions.

More than 5 million international tourists flew into Mexico during the first three months of 2022, an increase of 138.5% compared to the same period of last year.

Tourism Minister Miguel Torruco reported Sunday that 5.02 million international tourists arrived by air between January and March, a figure just 7% below the number of arrivals in the first quarter of 2019.

Over three-quarters of the visitors – 3.88 million or 77% of the total – were from just three countries: the United States, Canada and Colombia.

Torruco said in a statement that 3.18 million Americans flew into the country in the first three months of the year, an increase of 101.2% compared to the same period of 2021.

Coastal resort towns like San José del Cabo (shown) and Cancún were popular destinations.
Coastal resort destinations like San José del Cabo were popular among U.S. tourists.

The number of U.S. tourists, who commonly visit coastal destinations such as Cancún and Los Cabos, was 14.1% higher than in the first, pre-pandemic, quarter of 2019.

Over half a million Canadians – almost 511,000 – flew into Mexico in the first three months of the year, a whopping 1,446% increase over the first quarter of 2021.

Tourism from Canada collapsed early last year after that country’s government reached an agreement with the main Canadian airlines in late January 2021 to temporarily suspend flights to Mexico and Caribbean countries due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the supercharged first quarter recovery, there is still a lot of ground to make up to reach pre-pandemic numbers for Canadian tourists. Over 1 million flew into Mexico in the first quarter of 2019, or more than double the number who came here in the first three months of 2022.

Colombians were a distant third in terms of the number of international tourists who touched down at the country’s airports between January and March. Just over 185,000 arrived, Torruco said, an increase of 217% compared to the first quarter of 2021.

The figure was 52% higher than in the first three months of 2019, when just under 122,000 Colombians arrived.

Torruco also reported that 3.82 million of the 5.02 million first quarter international tourists entered the country via the Cancún, Mexico City and Los Cabos airports.

The combined number of international arrivals at those three airports represented 76% of the total and was up 134% compared to the first quarter of 2021. However, the figure was 5% below the number for the first quarter of 2019, when just over 4 million foreigners flew into the capital and the country’s two leading resort cities.

Tourism accounted for over 8% of Mexico’s GDP in pre-pandemic times before falling in 2020 due to the slump in international travel. The sector employs more than 4 million Mexicans and is vital to the economy in states such as Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur.

Mexico News Daily 

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