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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkTravel & Outdoors 

How Well is Mexico Tourism Doing This Year?

July 24, 2012

Industry officials feel confident that the growth in Mexico's tourism industry will continue its upward trend well into 2012 as interest in the Mayan culture has also experienced a resurgence.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Despite economic crisis abroad, drug violence at home, and US government warnings against travel south of the border, Mexico welcomed 190 million tourists in 2011, up 3.7% from 2010. But how well is tourism doing in Mexico this year?

One way of gauging how well tourism is doing is to examine hotel occupancy rates. To keep track of tourism statistics, Mexico’s Tourism Secretariat regularly publishes data for 70 tourist destinations across the country, ranging from major vacation resorts to cities where business-tourism is more important.

According to the latest reports, hotel occupancy rates in Mexico have risen steadily for 14 consecutive months, with a 6.3% increase year-on-year for the period January-May.

Some destinations are doing better than others. For example, occupancy rose 10.6% in Puerto Vallarta, 3.1% in the Riviera Maya, and 8.7% in Cancún, compared to 5.6% in Huatulco (Oaxaca), 8.5% in La Paz and 8.1% in Loreto (both in Baja California Sur.)

The increase in large cities, like Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey, was smaller than average, while occupancy rates for four mid-sized interior cities rose much faster than average: 23.8% in Querétaro, 32% in Zacatecas, 35% in Aguascalientes and 37% in Guanajuato.

The increase in occupancy rates for other destinations from Jan-May 2012 included:

• Puebla 15.1%
• Oaxaca 8.0%
• Mérida 6.3%
• León 1%
• Tijuana 6.6%
• San Luis Potosí 16.9%
• Morelia 10.1%
• Villahermosa 33.1%
• San Cristóbal de las Casas 12.2%
• Xalapa 8.9%

In 2012 the Mexico Tourism Board is expecting at least 52 million visitors to head down to the southeastern part of the country, including a growing number of visitors from emerging markets like Brazil, Russia and China. This includes travel to resort areas like Cancun, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, thanks in part to the many Mayan archeological sites in the Yucatan Peninsula region.

Last year, Mexican President Felipe Calderón stated that he wants Mexico to be one of the top five tourism destinations in the world by 2020. Today, the United Nations World Tourism Organization ranks Mexico at #10, but the country is looking to become among the top five international tourism destinations by 2018.

If current trends continue, international tourism continues to rise, and the US starts to realize that 99% of Mexico is perfectly safe for travel, Mexico should have a real shot at hitting the top five even sooner than hoped.

Sources: Mexico Today, Geo Mexico, Journey Mexico