Thursday, June 13, 2024

Mexico expects Maya Train to raise foreign tourist numbers in 2024

Mexico could welcome over 42 million international tourists in 2024 lured by the new Maya Train in the Yucatán Peninsula, according to Miguel Torruco Marqués, head of the Tourism Ministry (Sectur). 

Speaking on Monday at a press conference of the International Tourism Fair (FITUR) in Madrid, Spain, one of the world’s largest tourism fairs, Torruco said that Mexico expects 5.4% more foreign tourists than in 2023 and over US $32 billion in tourism revenue.

The Maya Train has transported an average of 800 people per day since its inauguration in December 2023. (@trenmaya/X)

He explained that Mexico aims to exceed the 38.3 million mark of tourists that entered the country last year, generating tourism revenue of US $28 billion with an average expenditure per tourist of US $1,155

Furthermore, Torruco estimated that 22.4 million tourists would enter the country via air, representing a 1% increase over 2023 and a 14.3% increase over pre-pandemic numbers (2019 and earlier).

Torruco added that the increasing flow of international tourism in Mexico corresponds with enhanced air connectivity, as the country has recently added “412 new direct flights from anywhere in the world to Mexico,” he said.

In reference to the Maya Train and other tourist projects that the federal government has developed during President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration, Torruco said that these are targeted to a new “post-pandemic tourist that seeks fresh and innovative [tourism] products.” 

Tulum international airport
The Tulum airport, opened in December, is also expected to increase international tourism to the region. (Mara Lezama/X)

“These projects seek to develop new products that cater to an increasingly educated and demanding consumer,” Torruco explained.

Ultimately, he said, the primary goal of López Obrador’s administration is to develop new tourism attractions that will generate greater economic benefits for the local population. 

However, a month after starting operations, the Maya Train has had some glitches. Online ticket sales were suspended over the weekend, and there were reportedly mechanical difficulties on Friday on the section between Campeche and Cancún that caused delays for passengers. 

The National Defense Ministry (Sedena) hasn’t yet given a reason for the temporary suspension. Tickets are available now for sale on the Maya Train website.

At FITUR, Torruco expressed his desire for the Maya Train to offer a unique experience that will allow visitors to connect with nature and learn about the archaeological sites of the Maya civilization. As of Jan. 8, the train had transported 15,500 people on 144 trips, averaging 800 people per day, mostly national tourists and local residents.

With reports from Radio Fórmula and Infobae

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