A streamlined visa process, and a substantial advertising campaign, have paid dividends for Mexico’s tourism industry. While tourists continue to avoid border areas, beach areas are starting to see substantial increases in visitors. In addition, prices are still relatively inexpensive, as many hotel and apartment owners continue to combat high vacancy rates. See the following article from International Living for more on this.
Call Mexico the Comeback Kid.
Last year you couldn’t give away tickets to Mexico. A perfect storm of bad news—the recession, the A1N1 virus, the drug war…—kept visitors away in droves and lost Mexico billions of dollars in tourism revenues.
This year the tourists are back. So far in 2010, over 7.1 million international tourists have come to Mexico, a 19% increase over last year, say Ministry of Tourism officials. Even more noteworthy, tourist numbers are 6% higher than in 2008—the last banner year for Mexican tourism. (These figures are based on tourists arriving by air.)
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Mexico’s government credits its massive advertising campaigns and a streamlined visa process for the rebound.
But simpler reasons could also be at hand.
“Mexico is a big country,” notes Dan Prescher, special projects editor for International Living. “A destination can be hundreds of miles away from any drug violence and still be within Mexico. And tourists have figured that out.”
Most returning tourists are avoiding the border area, which is associated with the on-going drug war violence. Instead, they tend to head south, toward beach areas that are little affected by violence. In August, for instance, both Cancún and Los Cabos, in Baja California Sur, saw about a 30% increase over last year in the number of visitors.
More than half of Mexico’s tourists this year—4.3 million—hail from the U.S. Another 1.4 million come from Canada.
For both countries, Mexico is a logical—and economical—travel option during recession. It’s a relatively short distance from the U.S. and Canada, and flights to Mexico tend to be frequent and relatively inexpensive. In addition, Mexico has a well-developed, sophisticated beach-resort industry that offers a range of options to money-conscious consumers. These include hotel packages, all-inclusive resorts, and a thriving cottage industry in short-term apartment rentals.
With occupancy rates still down in many destinations—and with 2009’s slump still in mind—many hotels and apartment owners are willing to bargain over rates. At least, that is, for now.
This article has been republished from International Living.