There has been a 19.2% increase in foreign visitors to Mexico from January to August of this year compared to the same period in 2009 according to data released this month by Mexican tourism officials. The State Department may have issued travel advisories in March yet over 4.3 million of the 7.1 million foreign travelers in the first eight months this year came from the U.S.
Mexico Tourism Minister Gloria Guevara said in a local radio interview that over 22 million foreign visitors are expected to visit this year, a significant boost compared to 2009 when global economic woes and the swine flu caused a big dip in tourism.
Not all is good news; for instance, tourists are concentrated mainly on coastal resort areas that are for the most part immune from rampant violence. Furthermore some tourists have had difficulty adapting to stricter currency regulations that went into effect last month. The head of tourism in the state of Colima even accused U.S. consular officials of using violence as an excuse to prevent tourism. Yet the figures presented weeks ago were very promising according to the Los Angeles Times:
The sharp increase in visitors to Mexico is also significant because (tourism) analysts have predicted only modest growth in travel worldwide. International air travel, for example, was up 6% in August compared with a year earlier, according to the International Air Transport Assn…Image- MSNBC (“Students from the United States on spring break in Cancun, Mexico, in 2003.”)
Mexican tourism officials attribute Mexico's tourist increase to a marketing campaign that kicked off in July, with the tagline "Mexico, the place you thought you knew."
Online Sources- Los Angeles Times, The Latin Americanist, BBC News, NPR, USA TODAY, El Universal