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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkNews Around the Republic of Mexico 

Fewer Flights from U.S. Not Affecting Mexico Tourism

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August 9, 2018

The reductions of flights to the Mexican Caribbean by some US airlines come as the country's tourism industry continues its significant growth trajectory and other airlines are increasing flights to Mexico.

While Mexico's international tourism continues to grow well beyond industry averages, a handful of U.S.-based airlines are reducing flights to the country, citing decreased demand. According to various media reports, United, Delta, American and Spirit have or will consider reducing flights from the United States to the beaches of the Mexican Caribbean.

The reductions among these carriers however, come as the country's tourism industry continues its significant growth trajectory and other airlines are increasing flights to its tourist hot spots.

Mexico is currently the sixth-most visited country in the world, hosting 39.3 million international visitors in 2017, and about 20 million of those arrivals were American visitors. Just five years ago, Mexico was ranked 15th most visited in the world.

According to the Mexico Tourism Board (MTB), "This rapid climb is due to sustained, above-industry-average growth fueled by the incredible diversity of Mexico's tourism offering and close collaboration with the travel industry, government and other interested parties to develop new products and infrastructure to support this growth."

From January through May 2018, Mexico's international tourism grew 12.6 percent compared to the same period in 2017, with air arrivals increasing 5.6 percent, numbers that far exceed the industry average, said the Mexico Tourism Board.

"In regards to the recent decreased demand compared with prior years from some of the legacy U.S. airlines, the exact causes for this are not yet known," said a MTB spokesperson. "It may be related to the rapid expansion of connectivity to Mexico in the past 12 months by those airlines and by competitors in the U.S. and Mexico."

In July 2016, the United States and Mexico exchanged diplomatic notes to bring a new Air Transport Agreement into force. The landmark agreement was designed to significantly increase trade and travel between the United States and Mexico. In particular, the agreement allowed for increased market access for passenger and cargo airlines to fly between any city in Mexico and any city in the United States.

Immediately after the agreement, airlines such as Southwest, Delta, and American announced they would begin new flights, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Southwest began offering three new nonstop flights from LAX to Cancun, San Jose Del Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. Delta, meanwhile, launched new daily nonstop services from New York JFK to Cancun and from LAX to Los Cabos, as well as a Saturday flight from Kansas City, Missouri to Cancun. Not to be left out, American Airlines started new daily flights from LAX to Cancun and Puerto Vallarta.

Before the frenzy was over, about 400 new routes between the two countries had been approved. That there is now some review and scaling back happening is only logical.

Meanwhile, Mexico continues focusing on the winning proposition it offers travelers: access to beaches, vibrant cities and magical towns, said the Mexico Tourism Board.

In addition to all of those attractions, officials are working to create new experiences to bring more visitors to Mexico, such as the Viajemos Todos Por Mexico campaign, which invites Mexican-American residents to the U.S. to reconnect with their culture.

"And, just as we have done in years past, we are hosting world-class events through the end of the year including the Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City, Formula 1, NFL, the NBA, the Los Cabos Film Festival and the Extreme Sailing Series," said the spokesperson. "We remain optimistic about Mexico's growth in 2018, including from the U.S. market."

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