Mexico Welcomed Record-Breaking 35 Million International Visitors in 2016

World-famous Mexican hospitality and diverse tourism experiences fuel industry growth

The Mexico Tourism Board announced today a record-breaking 35 million international visitors traveled to Mexico in 2016, representing a growth of 9 percent compared to 2015. This growth is more than twice the global industry average, most recently reported at 3.9 percent by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in January 2017.  Additionally, tourism spending by international visitors grew even faster, at 10.4 percent, highlighting the strength of Mexico’s appeal to luxury travelers, interest in multi-destination visits, and demand for Mexico’s gastronomy, artisanal goods and shopping offering.

Los Cabos - Fishing at The Arch (www.TheMexicoReport.com)

Los Cabos – The Arch at Land’s End (www.TheMexicoReport.com)

“Mexico’s sustained, fast growth is a testament to the incredible quality and diversity in our tourism offering and the hard work for the entire industry, both internationally and domestically. More than 9 million Mexicans working in the tourism and hospitality industry have made it their mission to ensure visitors have incredible experiences,” remarked Lourdes Berho, CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board.  “Plans are already underway to ensure 2017 builds upon these achievements and that Mexico continues to welcome all visitors and give them reasons to come back again and again.”

Mexico’s World Famous Hospitality Makes Visitors Feel At Home
True to the famous Mexican adage, ‘Mi casa es su casa’ (my home is your home), travelers from all over the world have recognized Mexico as being one of the most welcoming and friendliest places to visit in 2016.  In fact, the Mexico Tourism Board’s internal consumer tracking studies showed more than 94 percent of visitors reported an experience that “exceeded their expectations” and 86 percent say they would “like to come back again” in the next six months– some of the highest scores in the industry.  Examples include:

  • Mexico was awarded #1 country in the world for Family Travel and Puerto Vallarta as #2 destination in the world for LGBTQ travel by the global Travvy Awards
  • For the third year in a row, Mexico was ranked as the friendliest and most welcoming country in the world by the John Mason survey of expatriates in 191 countries
  • “Close to China” (Cerca de China) is a special program co-created by both China and Mexico which shares and recognizes best practices in the services offered to Chinese travelers by hotels, restaurants, travel agencies and guides
  • “Halal Mexico” is a special program to help prepare airlines, hotels, restaurants and the wider Mexico tourism industry to cater to travelers from around the world that maintain a halal diet
Yoga on the beach at Hacienda Tres Rios (www.themexicoreport.com)

Yoga on the beach at Hacienda Tres Rios in Riviera Maya (www.themexicoreport.com)

Mexico’s Visitors by Air and Expanded Connectivity Continues to Grow
Tourists arriving by air grew at an even faster rate of 10.7 percent, propelled by continued expansion in connectivity.  This includes service from new international markets to multiple Mexico destinations, expanded frequency on existing routes, and upgraded aircraft featuring additional seats along with improved passenger experiences.

Mexico’s Top Destinations Featured and Recognized Around the World
From industry awards to consumer media, surveys and high-profile brands, Mexico has once again proven itself once of the world’s most recognized destinations in 2016.  Examples include:

  • The New York Times named Tijuana (#8) and Puerto Escondido (#32) in their 52 Places to Go in 2017.  Mexico City was featured as the #1 place to visit in their 2016 list.
  • Travel & Leisure’s “World’s Best Awards” reader survey named five Mexican cities in its Top 10 Best Cities in Latin America rankings, including San Miguel de Allende (#1), Oaxaca (#3), Mexico City (#4), Merida (#5), Guadalajara (#8)
  • Mexico and its local partners and destinations across the country, won a collective 35 International Travvy Awards in early 2017 including: Mexico as Best Family Travel Destination in the world; Riviera Maya region as the Best Honeymoon Destination in Latin America, and Puerto Vallarta as Best LGBTQ destination globally. In Mexico, Los Cabos received top recognition for its culinary and luxury offerings.
  • The Rough Guides named Mexico City as the #2 city to visit
  • National Geographic named Baja California as one of its top places you need to visit in 2017
  • Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2017 selected multiple locations in the Riviera Maya and Yucatan region including Tulum for one of its largest features in 2017
Infinity pool at Hyatt Ziva Cancun's adult-only section, Turquoize (by TheMexicoReport.com)

Infinity pool at Hyatt Ziva Cancun’s adult-only section, Turquoize (via www.TheMexicoReport.com)

The Mexico Tourism Board’s recently announced 2017 tourism development strategy included a focus on developing expanded products and personalized marketing campaigns focusing on areas such as luxury, weddings and romance, diving, biodiversity and nature, culture, gastronomy, high-profile events, sports and adventure, as well as programs for audience segments such as millennials, LGBTQ and retirees. 

In each of these areas, partnerships with key destinations as well as global travel operators will bring an ever-expanded portfolio of options to travelers of all types. These industry partnerships are critical to Mexico’s goal to appeal to a broader audience in new markets, globally. This will help in achieving the new ambitious goal of reaching 50 million international visitors by 2021.

For more information about Mexico, please visit www.visitmexico.com.

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