International tourist spending increased by more than 7% in March even as overall visitor numbers declined slightly.
Data collected by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) shows that foreign tourists spent US $2.21 billion in Mexico in the third month of the year, 7.3% more than the amount they spent in March 2018.
Visitor numbers in the same month fell by 0.7% to just under 2.36 million.
However, one destination that bucked that trend – and in a big way – was Oaxaca city.
The number of foreigners who flew into the state capital’s airport in March increased by 48.6% to 12,081. The increase in foreign arrivals was higher than that recorded at any other airport in the country.
State Tourism Secretary Juan Carlos Rivera said part of the growth could be attributed to the introduction of 15 new flights to Oaxaca city from different parts of Mexico. There are also connections to six United States cities including Los Angeles, Houston and Dallas.
The numbers of tourists arriving in the state from that country as well as Canada, Europe and Latin America are all on the rise, statistics show.
In March, 83% of tourists who spent at least one night in Mexico arrived by plane, a 1% increase compared to the same month last year, while the number of land arrivals declined by 10.5%.
Although tourist numbers went backwards, the total number of foreigners who came to Mexico in March – including migrants, residents and daytrippers – increased by 5.5%.
Just over 4.2 million foreigners entered the country compared to just under 4 million in March last year.
Almost 1.9 million of them were “border tourists,” meaning that they crossed into Mexico at ports of entry with the United States, Guatemala and Belize and only remained in the country for a short time.
The number is almost 15% higher than that recorded in March last year and they spent 7.7% more while in Mexico.
A record 41.4 million international visitors came to Mexico last year, 5.5% more than in 2017, and they spent just over US $20.3 billion while here.
The government has said that it will increase tourism revenue by focusing more on attracting big spenders such as the Japanese, who spend more in Mexico than any other nationality.