International tourist numbers will come close to reaching pre-pandemic levels this year, federal Tourism Minister Miguel Torruco predicted Sunday.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Tianguis Turístico tourism industry event in Acapulco, Guerrero, Torruco predicted that Mexico will receive 40 million international visitors in 2022, which would be just 5 million short of the 45 million record set in 2019.
He predicted that tourism-generated revenue will be US $24.25 billion and declared that tourism in Mexico will have recovered “almost 100%” by the end of the year.
Torruco asserted that the recovery is possible thanks to actions implemented during the pandemic such as the application of vaccines on a massive scale and the establishment of virus mitigation measures in businesses.
“All these actions have allowed the recovery of the sector to occur more quickly,” he said.
The minister predicted that the sector will generate 8.3% of Mexico’s GDP in 2022, which would be just 0.3% lower than 2019. He noted that foreign investment in the sector totaled $2.05 billion last year, or 6.5% of total foreign direct investment.
“This data is encouraging and speaks of increasingly solid tourism activity that will continue strengthening with the different infrastructure actions … [of] the federal government such as the recent inauguration of the Felipe Ángeles International Airport,” Torruco said.
He also noted that the airport in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, has been upgraded and engineering studies are underway for the construction of an airport in Tulum in the same state. The Tepic airport in Nayarit is being modernized and the Copper Canyon Airport in Creel, Chihuahua, will soon begin operations, Torruco added.
“Air connectivity is fundamental to boost tourism,” the tourism minister said.
With regard to tourism sector employment, Torruco observed that job numbers have already exceeded pre-pandemic levels. Almost 4.4 million people were employed in tourism-related jobs in the first quarter of 2022, a 3.3% uptick compared to the same period of 2019 and a 19.1% increase compared to a year earlier.
Torruco said 8.6% of all Mexican workers are employed in the tourism industry.
In a meeting with the president of the Mexican Association of Hotels and Motels, the tourism minister highlighted that average hotel occupancy in 70 monitored tourism destinations in the first quarter of the year was 50.6%, a 22.8% increase compared to the same period of 2021.
His meeting with Juan José Fernández Carrillo was one of a huge number of encounters between tourism sector stakeholders at this year’s Tianguis, Latin America’s largest tourism industry event.
The Tourism Ministry said in a statement that more than 65,000 “business appointments” would take place at the four-day event, which concludes Wednesday.