Mexico has jumped to the sixth most visited country in the world, Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto said at the Tianguis Turistico conference here, telling government officials, tourism executives and media that Mexico had climbed to No. 6 from the No. 8 spot in one year.
Since 2013, Mexico has gone from 15th to sixth in the rankings, which are calculated by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, representing growth of more than 62%. (A statement from the Mexico Tourism Board said that while the official ranking will be published soon, it unveiled its ranking "based on available information today from the largest destinations in the world.")
Mexico last year welcomed 39.3 million international visitors, a 12% increase over the previous year. The growth came despite a challenging year for the country on a variety of fronts: From reports of resort alcohol tainting to natural disasters like two devastating earthquakes to a surprising safety scare in Playa del Carmen.
The Mexico Tourism Board attributed the visitor increase to Mexico's investment in developing new and existing destinations, diversifying its tourism products, and its partnerships with airlines, hotels, and the tourism industry.
Enrique de la Madrid Cordero, Mexico's secretary of tourism, said that the numbers and year-over-year growth "prove that travelers hear great things about visiting Mexico and keep coming back year after year. Ensuring their safety and security is a top priority for the Mexican government and the entire industry. While as a country Mexico has its challenges with crime and violence, these are not things tourists will come into contact with in our tourist destinations."
While there have been no U.S. State Department travel alerts this year (the U.S. embassy issued the security alert after the Playa del Carmen ferry explosion), Mexico is still working to ensure that travelers feel they are in the best hands when traveling there. The state of Quintana Roo recently shared an update on actions they have taken to further reduce the chance of incidents in its tourism destinations, such as 24-hour surveillance at the maritime terminals of Playa del Carmen and Cozumel as well as additional metal detectors for passengers, luggage and cargo inspections. There have been investments in technology to assist in communication between security personnel and hotels and tour operators.
Currently, Mexico's largest international tourist destinations have no travel restrictions. And within the select states that do have travel restrictions, the following are deemed safe by the U.S. State Department: Mazatlan, Los Mochis and Port Topolobampo in Sinaloa; Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta and Chapala Ajijic in Jalisco; Riviera Nayarit, including Punta Mita, Nuevo Vallarta, Santa Maria del Oro and Xalisco in Nayarit; Manzanillo in Colima; Morelia and Lazaro Cardenas in Michoacan; and Piedras Negras and Acuna City in Coahuila.
Pena Nieto stressed that improvement would continue, and Mexico's position in the world would continue to climb "if we establish good policies, if we stay the course and don't make mistakes, if we leave behind obsolete business models and stay firmly on the path within the framework that we have drawn." Mexico's goal is to reach 50 million visitors by 2021, said de la Madrid.
Source: Travel Weekly