Nico Barawid
CEO & Co-Founder
Casai
/
Expert Contributor

Why Mexico Could Become Region’s Leading Tourism Destination

By Nico Barawid | Thu, 07/14/2022 - 16:00

After a deep crisis, Mexican tourism is beginning a resurgence. According to recent data from INEGI, the number of visitors has rocketed: in March of this year alone, over 3 million international tourists arrived to Mexico. were received, an impressive 45 percent increase versus the same period last year. What’s even more impressive is this figure also exceeds the 2.75 million registered in 2020, thus surpassing pre-pandemic levels. It’s official, tourism is back!

INEGI also points out that total spending by these tourists has increased by 117 percent compared to last year, from US$1.137 billion to US$2.675 billion. Visitors arriving on its beautiful shores are also keen to spend, with the average spend per tourist increasing from US$497 in 2021 to US$763 this year, a 53 percent increase.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Tourism is confident that 2022 will be a year of sustainable growth for the sector’s stability, as it estimates that GDP from tourism alone will reach 8.3 percent of the national economy, just shy of levels last seen in  2019.

The opening of borders to foreign visitors, the progress in vaccination efforts and the flexibility of sanitary measures in the most popular destinations are the main factors that have reactivated the sector and increased the confidence of tourists in the country. However, there are other factors that could make Mexico the next tourism leader in the region, which would be great news for thousands of people and families, who depend directly or indirectly on travel and hospitality. Here are some of my thought starters:

  • New tourism trends: Travel took a radical turn during the pandemic and redefined our industry, from corporate events and business meetings to new forms of hospitality itself. Hybrid work, for example, has led many professionals to venture to embrace the digital nomad lifestyle and try new destinations without the fear of switching jobs. 

Such is the case of long stays among a portion of remote professionals, as many of the apartments managed by Casai maintained an average occupancy rate of 90 percent. The digital nomad lifestyle is truly here to stay, with millennials venturing out of their comfort zones to try living life truly like a local in Mexico.

  • Wellness tourism: The pandemic, specifically being locked up in one’s apartment, has reminded us of the importance of our mental health and the need to be in environments that not only stimulate but allow us to break away from it all. This has given birth to the rise of wellness tourism: It is estimated that 68 percent of travelers yearn for a new wellness or fitness activity during their next trip. Mexico has a vast offer of destinations rich in nature that are ideal for these types of activities, among which popular destinations like Tulum or Los Cabos stand out.
  • Increased tourism investment: Some cities ceased tourism activities completely during the pandemic. Now that some restrictions have been relaxed, they are willing to offer new experiences. Such is the case of places like Los Cabos, San Miguel de Allende or Monterrey. The arrival of investment to these and other destinations has already begun: according to official figures, by the end of 2021, tourism had a national investment of MX$215 billion (US$11 billion) and an international investment of US$1.548 billion, with close to 521 tourism projects that seek to generate 161,818 direct and indirect jobs.

New proposals and/or concepts in restaurants, galleries, museums, recreational centers and lodging spaces are redefining how tourism is done throughout the country, offering visitors a new vision of what it means to visit a place.

Although it may still be too early to discover the next tourism leaders in the region, there is no doubt that Mexico has unbeatable conditions to become a benchmark in the sector, as the emergence of technologies, trends and new players are a good omen that allows us to glimpse positive scenarios.

Photo by:   Nico Barawid