Mexico continues to be a hotspot for tourism — and a favorite among American travelers — and the Mexican government recently announced a massive spending program to continue the upward surge.
The extensive plans will focus on new infrastructure projects to upgrade roads, ports, telecommunications, water and energy facilities to sustain the country’s growth in tourism and travel. All told, the government is expected to invest $315 billion (U.S.) to complete these projects by 2018.
Additionally, the private sector will partner to the extent of $8.6 billion in the construction and improvements of new and existing hotels as well as other public facilities.
Mexico’s Board of Tourism expects that these projects will result in the creation of 28,000 direct and 78,000 indirect new jobs, which in turn will lead to an increase in domestic and outbound tourism due to higher incomes.
The investments are said to involve 176 specific projects across the country. In addition to hotel construction and refurbishment, there also will be investment in airport infrastructure, theme parks, marinas, golf courses, healthcare facilities and retirement communities.
All in all, the program will extend to 27 major tourist destinations spread across 17 Mexican states, according to media reports.
Over the last 20 years or so, the Mexican government has taken the lead in funneling billions of dollars in improving the nation’s tourism facilities — most notably the actual creation of such sunspot destinations as Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Ixtapa and others.
These measures, partnered with private investors, has boosted Mexico into one of the top venues for international travelers — that figure soared to 24 million visitors a year ago. Tourism now represents some 10 percent of the nation’s gross national product and year-over-year increases continue to be reported.
As a international destination for this year, Cancun was rated No. 1 and the Riviera Maya No. 4, and Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast was rated No. 5.
In its efforts to boost the country’s tourism, the Mexican government organized promotional campaigns in key tourist source countries in an attempt to improve its image as a safe tourism destination.
Popular campaigns included “Mexico: The Place You Thought You Knew”, initiated in 2010 to attract 50 million international tourists annually by 2018. With such initiatives, Mexico aims to become one of the world’s top five tourist destinations.