Friday, March 1, 2024

Over 17 million tourists have flown into Mexico this year

Mexico’s airports welcomed more than 17 million international visitors in the first 10 months of this year, and numbers look set to keep growing.

Between January and October 2023, 17.66 million foreign tourists flew into Mexico, according to the Tourism Ministry (Sectur). The figure is 6.2% higher than in the same period of 2022, and 13.8% higher than in the same period of 2019 – the latest sign that Mexico’s tourism industry continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Terminal 1 of Mexico City Airport (AICM)
Recent years have seen a spate of airport-building and renovation of existing airports, such as Mexico City International Airport. (X / AICM)

Visitors from the United States made up most air arrivals, totaling 11.21 million in the first ten months of the year – 27.9% more than in the same period of 2019. Canadians came in a distant second place, with 1.84 million visitors – up 51.6% from 2019. In third place were Colombians, with 604,468 tourists – up 23.9% from 2019.

Between them, these three nationalities made up 76% of all international tourists arriving in Mexico by air.

The busiest airports for international tourism were Cancún International Airport (CUN), with 8.16 million arrivals; Mexico City International Airport (AICM), with 3.5 million arrivals; and Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) in Baja California Sur, with 1.88 million arrivals. All showed significant growth from the previous year.

Sectur published figures in November showing that Mexico received US $22.91 billion of international tourism income between January and September. This is up 11.8% from the same period of 2022, and 23.3% from the same period of 2019.

The Tourism Ministry also highlighted the economic spillover that tourism generates in local communities, “thus fulfilling the mandate of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to make tourism a tool for social reconciliation.”

López Obrador has championed several initiatives aimed at using tourism to boost development in Mexico – notably the Maya Train and the new Tulum International Airport. However, these projects have been far from uncontroversial, with many activists criticizing their impact on the local environment and population.

Nevertheless, tourism remains vital to Mexico’s economy, representing more than 8% of the country’s GDP. And several developments mean that air arrivals are likely to grow further in 2024.

Most significantly, the restoration of Mexico’s Category 1 aviation safety rating has prompted several national airlines to open new international routes. Aeroméxico has recently announced 17 new flights to the U.S., VivaAerobus has announced 11 and the government expects the total to reach more than 50 in the near term.

With reports from La Jornada and Infobae

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