Mexico is primed to be a top holiday destination from July to September, according to the latest air ticketing analysis by travel analytics firm, ForwardKeys. But the big news is that it is managing to welcome more international visitors beyond the USA – Ecuadorean and European travellers play a vital role in its reactivation this summer. 

USA visitors vital for the Mexican tourism economy

Tourism is an important economic sector in Mexico, and the country plays a prominent role in tourism globally. In 2020Mexico welcomed 23.3 million international tourists, around half of the inbound tourism volume recorded a year earlier. Mexico, as one of the few exceptions worldwide, did not adopt strict restrictions to the influx of foreign visitors that year and the positive results are a merit of that.

However, one market has played a pivotal role in Mexico’s travel ecosystem: the United States.

“The Northern neighbours have greatly aided the tourism sector in Mexico,” says Juan Gomez, Insights Analyst at ForwardKeys. “Our air ticketing data has consistently shown the popularity of flights from the USA to Mexico since the summer of 2020, particularly on routes to Los Cabos in Baja California, Cancún and Puerto Vallarta.”

Indeed, according to ForwardKeys’ ticketing data, issued tickets from the USA have been above 2019 volumes since the end of February, and well above the international average to Mexico. The year-on-year variation is up by 31.9% – a feat in such times of the pandemic.

Not the usual suspects – Mexico attracts new source markets

It is not only holidaymakers from the US driving this pick up in air traffic to Mexico, but Ecuadoreans also appear to be in a rush for a Paloma on the beach with issued tickets in June 35.9% ahead of the same period in 2019 – slightly ahead of the US market too.

Spain, Switzerland, and France also appear as the most reactivated European source markets into Mexico. Further relaxation of travel restrictions, the good progress with the vaccination rollout as well as the reinstalment of part of the capacity to Mexico, are behind the strong reactivation seen in June.

Mexican cities to benefit from this new wave of international and regional tourists include Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and Cancun. “When looking at forward-looking issued tickets for all international arrivals in Mexico, Los Cabos is up 46% YOY, Puerto Vallarta by 42% and Cancun by 6%,” says Gomez.

Rodrigo Esponda, Managing Director of Los Cabos Tourism Board explained that the popularity and success of Los Cabos were due to their “proactive response to the pandemic and careful preparation to anticipate market shifts which have allowed the destination to recover and increase the reservation bookings internationally.”

“With an increase in demand, we continue to strengthen our safety-centred model and work in partnership with local and state authorities to ensure the well-being of visitors and our local community,” adds Esponda.

“Keeping borders open during the pandemic is key here but also widening your air network,” says Juan Gomez. A New Normal trend the data team at ForwardKeys have observed is the habit to book last minute, which only means these figures for travel to Mexico have the potential to increase even further. Mexico now shines as an example student for many other destinations to watch and learn from.

“Air connectivity is a key driver for demand. Currently, airlines are offering just 6% fewer seats than in 2019 for all international routes to Mexico in July and August. Although seats from the USA continue to show the highest increase, 16% above 2019 levels, the improvement of capacity from key European markets such as France, only 20% below summer 2019, will definitely have an impact on the destination and help diversify the demand” adds Gomez.

ForwardKeys has been guiding the travel and tourism sector in destination marketing and management via its suite of data platforms and APIs since 2010. Speak to one of our team members to learn more.


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