Tourists enjoy a Mexican beach. Tourists enjoy a Mexican beach.

Tourism officials predict near 6% increase in visitor numbers for 2019

The total is expected to reach nearly 45 million

Almost 45 million international tourists are predicted to visit Mexico next year, a 5.8% increase over the number projected for 2018, the new tourism secretary said this week.

Miguel Torruco Marqués told a press conference that the number of tourists predicted for 2019 – 44,884,000 – were forecast to spend US $23.26 billion while in the country, or 4.3% more than the expected expenditure this year.

He explained that tourism contributes 8.7% of Mexico’s gross domestic product (GDP), which is higher than the contributions from sectors including mining, petroleum and financial services.

Last year, Torruco pointed out, the tourism industry grew at a rate of 3.4% whereas the economy as a whole recorded 2.3% growth. Mexico is currently the sixth most visited country in the world.

A record 39.3 million foreign visitors came to Mexico last year, spending just over US $21.3 billion while they were here, while the total number of international visitors projected by the end 2018 would represent 8% growth on 2017 figures.

“In 2018, in accordance with the trend from January to September, the outlook is that we will have had 42,423,000 tourists by the end of the year and a total expenditure from international visitors of US $22.3 billion is estimated, in other words, 4.6% more than 2017,” Torruco said.

He added that by the end of the year, 23,200 hotels are expected to be in operation across the country, offering 834,000 rooms.

The figures represent a respective 5.5% and 4.9% increase compared to the end of 2017. Growth in the number of hotels and rooms is forecast to continue at a slightly higher rate in 2019.

Torruco stressed that domestic tourism will continue to be the cornerstone of the industry, pointing out that Mexicans account for almost 80% of hotel stays.

Mexico City is one destination aiming to increase its share of both the domestic and international tourism pie.

The capital’s new tourism secretary, Carlos Mackinlay, said the government is targeting at least 10% growth in visitor numbers for 2019.

Last year, 13.5 million visitors stayed in hotels in Mexico City, meaning that for the government to achieve its goal it would need to attract around 15 million tourists.

Mackinlay said the city’s advertising and promotion campaigns would be refocused and would have a better understanding of the markets at which they are directed. He added that a new Mexico City tourism website would be launched in the coming days.

The new government, led by Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, is planning a range of new cultural festivals and celebrations and will continue with those that are already popular, such as the Day of the Dead parade, which was first celebrated in 2016.

Source: Notimex (sp) 

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