Mexico suffers historical collapse of international tourism in 2020

The National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi) detailed in a report that Mexico suffered a historical collapse in international tourism in 2020, the year that the COVID-19 pandemic began, after stable historical highs for seven consecutive years (2013-2019 ).

The country received $11.25 million dollars ($236.962 million pesos) for the expenditure made by foreign visitors during vacations in 2020, being the lowest income of tourist foreign currency in the last 16 years, since 2004, when $10.7 million dollars were generated from foreign tourism, according to the results of the International Traveler Surveys that the Institute released this Wednesday.

The 2020 economic impact is equivalent to less than half (-55%) that obtained in 2019 and means the deepest fall in the last 40 years at least, since figures from international tourism have been tracked in 1980.

The collapse was deeper compared to the $11.28 million dollars expected by the Ministry of Tourism (Sectur).

In particular, the tourists who tend to spend the most money are those who travel by plane, whose spending was $8.3 million dollars and the vast majority came from the United States and Canada.

Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos, and Mexico City continued to be the favorite destinations for North Americans in 2020.

Inegi polls reveal that the country received a total of 24,316,000 international tourists last year, a historical collapse of 46% compared to 2019.

This figure was also below the 24,825,000 tourists predicted by the agency headed by Miguel Torruco.

Despite the disaster, the Sectur estimates that Mexico would go from seventh to third in the world in terms of arrival of international tourists in 2020, surpassed only by Italy and France.

The Secretary of Tourism, Miguel Torruco, acknowledges that tourism had its worst year since World War II (1939-1945) in 2020 and estimates that, even in the best of scenarios, the tourism industry will manage to recover during 2021.

For this year, it foresees that, in a conservative scenario, Mexico may receive $14.4 billion dollars for the expenditure made by international travelers, 41% less than in 2019, before the pandemic. Regarding the number of foreign tourists, it projects the arrival of 30.4 million and represents a decrease of 32% compared to 2019.

The President of the National Tourism Business Council (CNET), Braulio Arsuaga, warns that 2021 may end up being “much worse” for tourism than 2020, after it was announced that flights between Canada and Mexico were suspended from 31 January to April 30.