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Travel and Tourism Services


Mexican Arrivals to the U.S. (in millions of travelers)



2011 (estimated)

2012 (forecast)

Total Arrivals from Mexico




Percent Change




Total Air Arrivals




Percent Change




Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, ITA, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries; Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The United States is the most important destination for Mexican travelers. In 2010, 13.47 million Mexicans traveled to the United States, representing almost a quarter of the total foreign arrivals to the country. In 2010, Mexico was the second source of international travelers to the United States just after Canada. In 2010, Mexico reversed 2008 and 2009 declines which were a result of the adverse global economic environment. There was an increase of one percent during 2011 and four percent growth is expected in 2012.

In 2010 spending by Mexican travelers totaled $8.7 billion. Approximately 75% of this total is tied to the 1.67 million (12% of total number of visitors) Mexicans who traveled to the United States via air. U.S. travel and tourism companies are advised to consider this when preparing marketing strategies and promotional packages to potential Mexican tourists.

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It is important to differentiate between land and air Mexican travelers to the United States. Mexican land tourists usually travel to the southern states for a short time period in order to visit relatives or friends and to shop. In contrast, air travelers usually stay longer and buy packages that include transportation, lodging, shopping, and recreational activities. These tourists are particularly lucrative since they are the ones who generate most of the travel and tourism receipts to the United States.

The Pacific and the Atlantic regions maintained the largest market shares for Mexican travelers to the United States. The top destinations, that are not strictly border visits, are California, Texas, Florida and New York in addition to Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois and Georgia.


Mexicans are drawn to the United States because of its destination diversity, infrastructure, and excellent travel and tourism services. In particular, Mexicans enjoy destinations that offer shopping, gaming, entertainment, amusement parks, and a cosmopolitan environment. Natural parks and other outdoor destinations are typically not popular among Mexicans with skiing the notable exception – Mexicans flock to resorts in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah in the winter months to ski.

Wholesale operators in Mexico continue to be an important distribution channel in the Mexican travel and tourism market. Wholesalers sell their packages to travel agents who provide their services to the end consumers. Mexicans prefer to buy vacation packages through a travel agency, though purchasing airfare and hotel packages online is slowly becoming more common. U.S. wholesalers and tour operators are key players in the Mexican market because they negotiate directly with U.S. travel and tourism service companies and are able to offer better prices and packages. Wholesalers in Mexico are now buying products and services from receptive tour operators in the United States to save money and facilitate processes.

However, the younger population in Mexico is becoming more attracted to buy travel packages on the internet. There are a few Mexican and Latin American companies that sell hotel rooms, air tickets, and travel packages through their own websites and offer good deals to the end consumer. Travelers have the option to pay for their travel to the United States by debit or credit card in fixed installments with no interest.

It is crucial to establish and maintain a personal relationship with the travel and tourism companies in Mexico. U.S. travel and tourism companies are advised to travel to Mexico and develop a comprehensive follow-up strategy to obtain sufficient exposure in the Mexican market and increase sales. Distributing promotional material at one trade show is not likely to generate meaningful results.


Office of Travel and Tourism Industries: http://tinet.ita.doc.gov

U.S. Travel Association: http://www.tia.org

Visit USA Committee Mexico: http://www.visitusa.com.mx

United States Travel and Touris http://www.thebrandusa.com

For more information on the travel and tourism sector, please contact:

Mr. Juan Carlos Ruiz, Commercial Assistant

U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Embassy Mexico City