A visitor at a Mayan archaeological site. A visitor at a Mayan archaeological site. shutterstock

At 2.6 million, international tourist numbers for May well up over 2020

But figures were down 23% from May 2019

International tourist numbers almost tripled in May compared to the same month last year but were still 23.2% below figures for May 2019.

Data from national statistics agency Inegi shows that almost 2.66 million international tourists came to Mexico in May, a 198.5% increase compared to the 890,642 foreign visitors in the same month of 2020, when much of the world was in lockdown due to the emergence of the coronavirus.

This year’s figure represents a decline of some 800,000 compared to May 2019, when 3.46 million international tourists visited.

Just over 1.5 million of the international visitors in May were tourists who stayed in the country for at least one night while the the other 1.15 million were border tourists.

Of the former, 1.22 million arrived by air, a colossal 3,273% increase compared to May 2020 but a 20.5% decline compared to the same month of 2019. Border tourists increased 54.1% over May 2020 numbers but were down 25% compared to two years earlier.

International tourists spent US $1.59 billion in Mexico in May, a 931.5% increase compared to the same month last year, but expenditure was down 17.9% compared to May 2019.

The average outlay of each tourist was $182, almost triple the $61 spent by each visitor a year earlier and a 67% increase compared to May 2019, when average individual expenditure was $109.

Tourists who arrived by air spent an average of $1,062 each, according to Inegi data, a 42.3% increase compared to May 2020 and a 5.3% jump compared to the same month of 2019.

Mexico, which has kept its air borders open throughout the pandemic and has not required incoming travelers to show negative Covid-19 tests or go into mandatory quarantine upon arrival, was the third most visited country in the world last year behind Italy and France, according to estimates by the World Tourism Organization. It ranked seventh in 2019.

Tourism generally contributes to almost 9% of Mexico’s GDP but its importance to the economy is much greater in states that are heavily dependent on tourists such as Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur.

Tourism Minister Miguel Torruco has predicted that the sector won’t completely recover from the pandemic-induced downturn until 2023.

With reports from EFE 

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