More than 12.8 million tourists from the United States and Canada visited Mexico last year, a 1.4% increase over 2018 numbers.
Tourism Secretary Miguel Torruco Marqués said the figure was made up of just over 10.5 million Americans and 2.31 million Canadians.
Visitor numbers from the U.S. increased by just 0.2% compared to 2018, while those from Canada spiked 7.4%.
Speaking at a meeting with members of a travel agency association, Torruco said the growth in U.S. visitors came despite tourist numbers falling in all but four months last year.
“With the exception of . . . April, May, October and November of 2019 . . .a reduction [in visitor] numbers was seen with respect to the same month of the previous year,” he said.
“. . . Despite snowfall in January  that caused the suspension of thousands of flights and the decline [in flights] due to” the grounding of Boeing 737 MAX planes, the U.S. market recovered and grew by 0.2%, Torruco said.
The tourism secretary said the United States and Canada remain the largest source of visitors to Mexico followed by South America, Central America and the Caribbean collectively, and Europe.
While in Mexico last year, American and Canadian tourists spent US $12.91 billion, Torruco said, which equates to just over US $1,000 per person. U.S. visitors spent 82% of that amount, and made up the same percentage of total visitors from the two North American countries.
Torruco’s announcement of the tourism figures for North America came a week after he predicted that final statistics would show that 44.7 million foreign tourists came to Mexico last year, an increase of 8.3% over 2018. The secretary also predicted that statistics would show they spent US $24.81 billion while in the country, a 10.2% increase compared to 2018.
He highlighted that tourism contributes to 8.7% of GDP and said the government is working to continue growing the sector.
Meanwhile, the outgoing head of the faculty of tourism at Anáhuac University, Francisco Madrid, predicted at a conference last week that international tourist numbers will grow by a further 5.5% this year.