In 2017, Mexico surpassed Germany, the United Kingdom and Turkey to become the sixth-most visited destination in the world. International visitor spending during that same period reached $21.3 billion, also a record for the nation.
"We are very proud of having reached, for the first time in our history, the sixth-most-visited country in the world," said Mexico Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid speaking to an audience of travel agents during a Mark Travel Corporation webinar.
The numbers are growing at a dizzying rate. From 2013 through 2017, the nation saw a 62 percent increase in visitor traffic, the fastest growth rate of any large global destination.
Accordingly, infrastructure is also expanding, including welcoming 15,000 to 20,000 new hotel rooms every year. "Just last semester, 7,000 new rooms were inaugurated [in Mexico]," said de la Madrid.
Connectivity to the nation is also increasing. In 2017, some 18.6 million international visitors arrived by air.
For 2018 alone, the country has already welcomed 4,600 new flights, including new service from Chicago to Mazatlan, Denver to Cozumel, Los Angeles to Acapulco and Seattle to Mexico City.
Mexico's transformation into global tourism star has not come without its challenges, including an ongoing concern over visitor safety.
Mexico's tourism industry has vowed to take a harder line on people and organizations spreading mis-information about the country.
Last month's Mark Travel Corporation webinar, which also featured tourism updates from area convention and visitors bureaus, was designed to help answer travel agents' concerns and questions about these issues.
"[Mexico] is a fantastic destination and [one] that has been important to our company for over 30 years," said host Ray Snisky, Executive Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer of The Mark Travel Corporation, before introducing Secretary de la Madrid. "It is the passion, warmth and graciousness of the people of Mexico that really makes that destination unique."
"There's a lot of misinformation [about Mexico] right now." Snisky said, and that having the right information would transition into clarity and energy for travel agents selling Mexico.
During the webinar, Secretary de la Madrid addressed travel agent concerns about safety.
He told agents to remember that while Mexico frequently appears in the media over sensationalistic stories about violence, those stories are mostly drug-related. "Tourists coming to Mexico are not the target of this violence and they are not impacted, mainly, by this violence," he said.
He also added a little context, pointing out that [what happens in] Mexico is not too different than what happens in other parts of the world, or what happens in the US. The general crime rates generally do not have an impact on visitors to those destinations.Read the full article at TravelPulse.com.