Mexico - Country Commercial Guide
Travel and Tourism

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-09-23

With Mexico’s proximity to and familiarity with the United States, it is no surprise that travel and tourism represent a best prospect sector for U.S. destinations attracting Mexican travelers. After an extremely difficult 2020 and 2021 for the entire global travel and tourism industry, it is expected that Mexico will continue to be one a top source of international travelers in 2022, boosted by improving economic conditions, increasing COVID 19 vaccination rates in both countries, and the reopening of U.S. travel and tourism services, in addition to the implementation of marketing campaigns to attract the Mexican traveler.


The United States is the primary destination for Mexican travelers. In 2021, 10.4 million Mexicans traveled to the United States, representing 47 percent of total foreign arrivals to the United States. Due to the travel restrictions applied to the majority of the top travel and tourism markets to the United States, Mexico was for second year in a row, the largest source of international visitors. Nonetheless, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused serious negative effects on international travel and tourism to the United States, and Mexico is no exception. Even when 2021 saw a significant recovery in Mexican tourism to the United States, it was still 42 percent below 2019 record levels. In November 2021, the United States removed its restrictions for non-essential travel, including leisure travel, along the border with Mexico, which will be reflected in the increased number of Mexicans traveling to the United States by land in 2022. In addition, in June 2022, the United States lifted the COVID-19 testing requirement prior to entry but continues to require foreign nationals to provide proof of vaccination when traveling into the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), spending by Mexican travelers in 2021 totaled USD 11.7 billion. The top destinations for Mexican travelers are Texas, California, Florida, Nevada, and New York, followed by New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, and Georgia.

Table: Arrivals of Mexican Travelers to the United States

(Figures in Millions of Travelers)





2022 (Estimated)

Total Arrivals from Mexico





% Change





Total Air Arrivals from Mexico





% Change





Source: U.S. Department of Commerce National Travel and Tourism Office

Leading Sub-Sectors

It is important to differentiate between land and air travelers to the United States. Mexican land tourists typically travel to the southwestern states for shorter visits for family or shopping purposes. On average, Mexican air travelers tend to stay longer and purchase packages that include transportation, lodging, shopping, and recreational activities. Business travel, educational travel, and meeting/conference/incentive/exhibition travel (MICE) are additional segments worth attention.


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

Wholesale operators continue to be an important distribution channel in the Mexican travel and tourism market. Wholesalers sell packages to travel agents who provide services to consumers. Mexican travelers prefer to purchase vacation packages through travel agencies, though purchasing airfare and hotel packages online has become much more common in recent years. U.S. wholesalers and tour operators are key players in the Mexican market, in part because they can negotiate directly with U.S. travel and tourism service companies and therefore offer competitive prices and packages. To save money, wholesalers in Mexico are now buying products and services from tour operators in the United States, who deal directly with local tourism service providers that develop travel packages. The younger Mexican population is much more comfortable buying travel packages over the Internet. The biggest online travel agencies (OTAs) in Mexico now offer hotel rooms, air tickets, and travel packages through their own websites. Travelers often have the option to pay for their travel to the United States by debit or credit card in fixed installments with no interest.

Social networking is increasingly important for the promotion of travel and tourism services. Several U.S. destinations and providers of travel and tourism services represented in Mexico have launched promotional campaigns through social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Most of these promotional campaigns are in Spanish and include interaction with the end-consumer and travel agents.

In order to be successful in the market, it is crucial to establish and maintain personal relationships with travel and tourism companies in Mexico. U.S. travel and tourism firms are advised to travel to Mexico and develop a comprehensive follow-up strategy in order to gain sufficient exposure in the Mexican market. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, all U.S. destinations and services providers have invested in assertive post-COVID marketing and promotional campaigns to recover market volume. These activities should include deals and promotions by travel services and destinations for local wholesalers. Industry experts point out the heavy toll COVID-19 will continue to take on Mexico’s economy, so recovery planning must consider short-term and long-term components. U.S. destinations and service providers are taking advantage of IT tools and virtual communication platforms to increase education on future attractions and services among potential Mexican tourists. Social media has represented an important way to continue promoting U.S. destinations and services to maintain the interest of the Mexican traveler and to entice them to visit the United States.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, 28.8 million U.S. citizens traveled to Mexico in 2021. This travel may also present business opportunities to U.S. firms offering packages and travel services geared towards U.S. travelers to Mexico.


U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office                       

U.S. Travel Association                                                         

Brand USA


International Pow Wow (IPW), May 20-24, 2023, San Antonio, Texas
Brand USA Global Marketplace Focus on Mexico, January 2023, TBD

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

Juan Carlos Ruíz

Commercial Specialist

U.S. Commercial Service—Mexico City

Tel.: +52 (55) 5080-2000 ext. 5223