Tourism in Mexico: employment, foreign exchange and GDP

Tourism in Mexico is considered a strategic sector due to its contribution to employment, foreign exchange and Gross Domestic Product (GDP), among other benefits.

According to data from the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), tourism generated around 8.5% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the period between 2017 and 2019.

However, in 2020, in the wake of the pandemic, the sector’s contribution to GDP declined to 6.7 percent.

Indicadores del turismo internacional, 2017-2021

In 2021, the sector began to rebound and its contribution to GDP was estimated at 7.1 percent.

The tourism activities that are most important to the economy are accommodation services, transportation, catering and leisure, and handicrafts.

Also, according to information from the World Trade Organization (WTO), tourism is an important provider of employment; in 2021, it generated 8.5 percent of total employment.

In 2019, Mexico received 97.4 million visitors, of which 45 million were tourists, an all-time high.

That same year, Mexico was the seventh largest tourist destination in the world.

In 2020, despite the pandemic affecting international tourist inflows, Mexico became the third largest tourist destination in the world, as it adopted very few restrictions on international tourism.

Tourism in Mexico

The sector has traditionally been one of the main sources of foreign exchange for Mexico, second only to remittances.

On the other hand, tourism is a sector regulated by federal laws and by laws issued by the states.

The General Law of Tourism and its Regulations constitute the legal framework for the sector at the federal level. The Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR) designs and implements sector policy, whose objectives are outlined in the Tourism Sector Program (PROSECTUR) 2020-2024, based on the NDP 2019-2024.

Mexico pursues an inclusive and sustainable tourism model.

Among the objectives pursued to foster the growth of the sector is the diversification of tourism destinations and tourism markets.

Consequently, Mexico’s image abroad has been strengthened and digital platforms have been established to promote the different destinations and tourism products offered by Mexico; and projects such as the Mayan Train, to promote historical-cultural tourism in the Yucatan Peninsula, and training and certification programs have been implemented.

In addition, in order to achieve a more rapid recovery after the pandemic, efforts have been made to promote domestic tourism.


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