Mexico received 198.5% more international tourists in May than in the same month of 2020, when there was confinement in much of the world due to the covid-19 pandemic, as reported this Friday by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography ( Inegi).
Mexico went from receiving 890,642 foreign tourists in May 2020 to almost 2.66 million last May.
However, compared to the pre-pandemic levels in 2019, there is a substantial fall in tourism of 23.2%, when in May 2019, Mexico welcomed 3.46 million international tourists.
“In May 2021 2.7 million international tourists entered Mexico, a flow that compares with 891,000 in May 2020 (+198.5%) and with 3.4 million in May 2019 (-23.2%). 1.2 million entered by air in May 2021, 36,000 in May 2020, and 1.5 million in May 2019 ”, President of Inegi, Julio A. Santaella, wrote on his Twitter account.
The main upturn was in tourists arriving by air, which in May of the previous year represented just 36,210 people and in the same month of 2021, there were more than 1.22 million travelers, 32 times higher than 2020.
Border tourists rose 54.1% year-on-year in May to 1.15 million travelers.
The data reflects the covid-19 pandemic, a disease that so far has caused more than 2.5 million infections and almost 235,000 deaths in Mexico, one of the most affected countries in the world.
In May 2021, foreign exchange inflows soared 931.5% year-on-year from $154.3 million to $1,591.7 million in total spending.
While the May 2021 increase in international travel is good economic news, it comes with a greater long-term economic cost to Mexico. Following Mexico’s great influx of May international tourists, the country entered a third wave of COVID-19 infections that is still roaring through Mexico’s most important tourist destinations, including Cancun, Baja, and Puerto Vallarta. A thrid wave of COVID-19 infections can wipe away the financial gains being made through the tourism industry in Mexico.
On June 1, 2020, the so-called “new normal” started in Mexico with an economic and social opening in phases after two months of a health emergency that paralyzed non-essential activities.
The Mexican tourism industry, which contributes 8.7% of gross domestic product (GDP), will not fully recover until 2023, according to estimates by Miguel Torruco, Secretary of Tourism.
Even so, Mexico was the third most visited country in the world in 2020, according to estimates by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a temporary phenomenon attributed to flexible sanitary measures in the country’s tourist areas, which also promoted the spread of COVID-19 variants that are contributing to the current increase in COVID-19 cases in Mexico.