The arrival of US tourists to Mexico reported the steepest drop in seven years in the face of travel alerts from the United States (US) and insecurity.
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Figures from the Immigration Policy Unit of the Ministry of the Interior (Segob) indicate that the country received 845,000 US visitors by plane last April, a decrease of 6.8% (61 thousand people) in relation to the similar month of 2017 when then 906,000 visitors from the United States arrived.
It is the first fall in three and a half years since October 2014, as well as the steepest decline in almost seven years since July 2011.
The director of the Faculty of Tourism and Gastronomy of the Anáhuac University, Francisco Madrid, said that the fall of travelers from the US is due to several aspects, but highlighted the seasonal effect for Easter that this year was in March and in 2017 occurred in April, which influenced the annual comparison.
However, the expert observes a pattern of deceleration in the growth of passenger arrivals from the US to Mexico in the first quarter of the year, related to the effects of security alerts issued by the US.
On August 22, 2017, the US State Department updated an alert to its citizens about travel and safety conditions in the Mexican states of Quintana Roo, Baja California Sur, Baja California, Guerrero, Veracruz, Chiapas, and Colima.
However, on January 10 of this year, the same authority announced the update of the format that replaces the travel alerts, by a clearer and simpler recommendation system, in which it suggests “take extra precautions” to visit Mexico and “no travel” through the states of Sinaloa, Michoacán, Guerrero, Colima, and Tamaulipas.
After knowing the modification, the Ministry of Tourism (Sectur) stressed that Cancun, Riviera Maya, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta-Riviera Nayarit and Mexico City, which concentrate eight out of 10 foreign tourists visiting the country, were exempt from restrictions by the Department of State.
From the perspective of Madrid, the depreciation of the peso against the dollar observed as of May may stimulate the arrival of more US travelers, but it recognizes that this market is weakening.
The dollar began to sell in more than 20 pesos from the second half of May and reached up to 21.15 units at CitiBanamex windows on June 14.
“Insecurity, a cause”. For the president of the franchise network Viajes Bojórquez, Armando Bojorquez, the lower arrival of American tourists is worrisome and does not believe that the effect of Easter has influenced so much in the annual comparison, because Americans do not usually travel much in this holiday period like other tourists.
The businessman said that the travel alerts of the US government, the news of insecurity and the statements of President Donald Trump explain, to a greater extent, the fall of tourists in April.
Historically, the United States has been the main market for foreign tourists to Mexico, with six out of every 10 international visitors from that country, while Canada remains the second.
To avoid excessive dependence, the head of the SECTUR, Enrique de la Madrid, set a goal that travelers from the US do not represent more than half of future visitors, by promoting Mexico in Latin American, European markets, and Asia.
For some years there have been significant growth rates in the arrival of tourists from other nationalities, for example, the entrance of Argentines increased 23.3% in April and now they compete for the third place with the British market.
The arrival of Peruvians increased 32.3%; Brazilians 14.5% and Colombians 4.1%, which has exceeded the entry of Spaniards, Italians and Germans, according to Segob figures.
“It is encouraging that there is a diversification, but we should not be confused, because in this case, it is because the US market is weakening, not so much because of the consolidation of other markets, given that its size is still small compared to the US,” he concluded. Madrid.
Meanwhile, Bojórquez predicted that Latino tourists will arrive at a higher rate in the following years, mainly from Bolivia, before the cancellation of the visa to enter Mexico.
We are an attractive option for Latinos, given the difficulty they face in obtaining a visa and entering the US, said the president of the Confederation of Tourism Organizations of Latin America.