The Secretary of Tourism, Enrique de la Madrid, confirmed today that Mexico became the sixth most visited country in the world, with 39.3 million foreign visitors last year.
In this way, the Latin American country rose two positions in the list consisting of data by the World Tourism Organization.
“Mexico was the number 15 just four years ago and we are now the sixth country,” he said at a press conference De la Madrid, who stressed that the new position could be reached thanks to the arrival of four million more tourists in 2017 last year.
In front of this country only France (leading with 89.8 million international tourists), Spain, the United States, China and Italy are located.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto had already predicted the rise of Mexico in the last edition of the tourism fair held in Mazatlan in April.
“It is very sure that we will move from the eighth to the sixth place as the most important tourist destination worldwide to dispute that place with countries such as England, Germany and Turkey,” said the president at the time.
De la Madrid recalled that tourism is one of the sectors that has more weight in the economy of the country, since it contributes 8.7% of GDP, more than other areas such as construction or agriculture.
In addition, ten million Mexicans live “directly or indirectly” from tourism, and it is the first source of employment for young people.
So far in Peña Nieto’s term (2012-2018), visitors from the United States (the country that sends the most tourists to Mexico) have increased 74.3%.
Likewise, tourists from Colombia (234%), China (233%) and Peru (154%) have grown exponentially.
The secretary indicated that, in the last semester, 32 new aviation routes were opened in national territory, ten of them national and 22 international.
“I do not know if it’s a coincidence, but no new route is from Mexico City,” which “surely” is reflecting that the capital’s airport “is not growing,” he argued.
To improve connectivity, De la Madrid highlighted the “importance” of the project to build the new airport in Mexico City, which has been questioned by presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a favorite in the polls heading for the elections on July 1. who has advanced who will review the project to come to power.