De la Madrid: more tourists on the way. De la Madrid: more tourists on the way.

Tourism secretary: 50mn visitors by 2021

Last year saw a record 39.3 million, which could grow by 4 million a year

The number of international tourists visiting Mexico annually could reach 50 million by 2021, the federal tourism secretary said yesterday.


At a press conference to announce that a record 39.3 million foreign visitors came to Mexico last year, Enrique de la Madrid said that figure could continue to grow by a further four million each year.

If the 50 million number is achieved, it would likely make Mexico the world’s fifth most popular tourism destination.

Mexico overtook Turkey last year to become the world’s eighth most visited country. In 2012, it ranked 15th.

Visitor numbers in 2017 increased by 4.2 million or 12% compared to the number of foreign arrivals in 2016, and international travelers spent just over US $21.3 billion while they were in the country, de la Madrid said.

Figures for both arrivals and expenditures broke previous records for the fifth consecutive year.

The latter represented growth of 8.6% compared to 2016, when visitors spent US $19.65 billion.


Almost half, or 18.5 million, of all international tourists arrived at the nation’s airports. That figure was up 9.9% on 2016 numbers.

De la Madrid said that more flights were arriving in Mexico, not only from the United States but also from other countries including Canada, Argentina, Colombia and the United Kingdom.

Visitors crossing into Mexico by land increased by 17% to almost match the number of visitors arriving by air.

Almost 17 million arrived via border crossings that Mexico shares with the United States, Guatemala and Belize.  The remainder arrived by sea at the nation’s ports, with cruise ship visitor numbers up by 18.3% compared with 2016.

“We have many vocations but tourism is definitely the most natural vocation for Mexico,” de la Madrid said, adding that tourism was growing at a faster rate than other tourism-oriented countries.

Between 2012 and 2017, the number of international tourists grew on average by 10.9% compared to an average of 5% in the rest of the world, he said.

Mexico City’s Day of the Dead parade and the Mexican Grand Prix were cited as specific examples of events that had helped to boost tourist numbers. The latter left an economic spillover of almost 15 billion pesos (US $808 million) last year.

The spokesperson for the federal government said that tourism success was driven by unprecedented support for the sector from the current federal administration.

“The tourism sector is one of the pillars of the president’s economic project. Today, more than 10 million Mexicans live directly or indirectly from tourism, an industry that has grown more than our economy as a whole . . .” Eduardo Sánchez said.

Source: Reforma (sp), El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp)

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  • WestCoastHwy

    I do believe these international visitors are avoiding TJ. TJ use to be the most visited city in Mexico by foreign visitors do in part of the border crossing but as of yesterday, all I saw was Mexican scurrying back across the border after cleaning houses and hotels in SD

    • WestCoastHwy

      I would like to add that Criminal Gangs are now entering the Tourist Trade and I believe that is why there is an increase in Tourist Terrorism in Mexico; Acapulco is a primary example.

  • David L. Allison

    Will not happen without more effective control of and suppression of cartel violence in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco and other vacation destinations on both coasts of Mexico. Bribes will not work any more. The cartels, demanding payments from tourist businesses, are terrorists just as those who market drugs into the US and Canada are violent terrorists. Until government officials refuse to take money from terrorists, the tourism market will begin to shrink. It is happening in Acapulco and Playa del Carmen already.

    • gypsyken

      There would be no marketing of drugs if people did not want to buy them. Without the demand, there would be no supply. The marketers are not terrorists who force people to buy their drugs.

      • David Nichols

        Please…are you really this dense…?? you always point to the demand side of the drug trade as if the addicts were committing mass murder, corrupting governments and creating chaos…
        This is what the narcos do, the demand side is passive and politically powerless–do you really not know that…??
        And yes, by definition the narcos are terrorists, and terror is their m.o.

        • gypsyken

          I do know that the demand side of the drug trade is very active, not passive, in demanding drugs, and that without the demand for drugs, no one would be supplying them. Do you not recognize that simple fact, that aspect of the implementation of free enterprise?

          • David Nichols

            Of course I know the scumbags couldn’t sell their garbage if nobody wanted to buy it…
            Nevertheless I also know the corruption of government and law enforcement, as well as wholesale murder and terrorism is wholly the responsibility of the narcos, i.e. the supply side…
            You seem to prefer to believe otherwise…

          • gypsyken

            You ignore the fundamental fact that the narcos, and all the violence and corruption that they bring, would not exist if there were no buyers of what they are selling.

          • David Nichols

            You’re delusional if you think the narco criminals wouldn’t be criminals in the absence of drugs to sell…
            They are heavily into kidnapping, extorting businesses, stealing millions from Pemex with pipeline taps, etc, etc…
            They are criminals at heart, and a significant part of Mexican culture glorifies them…
            They were not created by the USA, much as you want to believe it…

      • David L. Allison

        It seems to me that there is a combination of supply and demand throughout North America that allows the narcoterrorism to expand and grow. The sooner all three countries legalize medical and recreational marijuana, the sooner that both supply and demand for all recreational drugs can be managed effectively.

        As to supply and demand generally, I believe we are back to the chicken and egg conundrum.