In 2020, Mexico was ranked as the third nation to which more international tourists arrived, but it gradually lost that position when the other countries relaxed their entry restrictions.
The travel alert to Mexico due to high rates of violence and insecurity and COVID-19, issued by the United States government recently, could affect tourism activity in the country, according to Gustavo López Pardo, from the Institute for Economic Research ( IIEc) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico ( UNAM ).
The foregoing, even when the five entities marked with risk level 4 (“do not travel”): Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas; and the 11 classified as level 3 (“reconsider travel “): Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, State of Mexico, Morelos, Nayarit, Sonora, and Zacatecas, are not the main destinations for international tourism.
“The places that are subjected to an alert of this type by a foreign country could be affected, due to an inertial effect on national visitors”
The expert recalled that tourism is an important activity for the country’s economy and represents a significant percentage of the Gross Domestic Product ( GDP ) which, in the best moments, before the pandemic, was approximately 8%, in addition to generating almost seven million jobs directly and indirectly.
Visitors from around the world come to Mexican territory, mainly from the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other European countries, who with their consumption contribute to the collection of foreign exchange used for national development. Any negative action could have serious impacts on that activity in general and, in particular, on the aforementioned destinations.
The entities mentioned by the US Department of State ( DEA ) receive more domestic tourism. According to figures from DATATUR from the Ministry of Tourism and INEGI, almost 60 percent of foreigners are concentrated in the Riviera Maya, including Cancun, where more than 12 million national and international passengers arrived in 2019. Other preferred destinations of the world are Los Cabos, in Baja California Sur, and Mexico City.
Gustavo López explained that in 2020 Mexico became the third nation that attracted the most international tourists.“The fall in world tourism due to the pandemic was almost 75 percent, but there was also a redistribution of preference in travel, based on facilities or the tightening of restrictions on mobility and entry of foreigners in each destination”
It is worth mentioning that in Mexico there have not been many restrictions to arrive, unlike other countries.
Although he clarified that it does not mean that it will be the case permanently, as world tourism activity recovers, other nations could regain the place they had before the health emergency when, for example, our country ranked seventh on the list of the main receivers.
López Pardo pointed out that for this year there is still not enough data; however, it is estimated that it will close with a fund-raising of 14.2 billion dollars for this concept.
In 2019, 45 million international visitors were registered in our territory; in 2020, 24.8 million and in 2021 they could reach 28.4 million; in other words, there is a recovery, “but nothing comparable to the situation that prevailed before the pandemic.” In terms of tourists and the resources generated, this economic activity is beginning to rebound in a modest but growing manner.
In addition, we must not lose sight of the importance of national travelers. In fact, a considerable part of the activity was held by local visitors. For example, the data indicate that there was an increase in mobility to Cancun, a site that registered four million foreigners and 4.1 million Mexicans, in 2020.
Sun and beach destinations have the appropriate infrastructure. Sites such as Huatulco, Los Cabos, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, among others, are consolidated and have adequate health security protocols.
There are also traditional destinations such as Veracruz, Acapulco or Manzanillo that are part of the national preference and where large hotels, in particular, apply sanitary measures, “because it is the only way to regain the confidence of visitors. ” In addition, the health and safety of local populations and workers in the tourism industry are sought.”In Mexico there is a great offer: magical towns, ecotourism or adventure tourism, are other options with high-quality services”
This sector will recover the levels it had before the health emergency until the end of 2023, according to estimates by the World Tourism Organization ( WHO ), only if the new manifestations of the pandemic can be stopped. Therefore, domestic tourism must be strengthened and strategies developed to increase national mobility, López Pardo concluded.