NPI and the North American Center For Transborder Studies (NACTS) released a new report on tourism and the southwest region of the United States entitled Realizing the Full Value of Tourism from Mexico to the United States. This was the second in a series of reports seeking to educate the country about the evolving and growing economic power of the region. The first report Realizing the Full Value of U.S. Mexico Trade focused on the important trade relationship between the United States and Mexico. Taken together these reports tell a powerful story of a region which contributes mightily to the overall wellbeing of the United States.
This most recent report comes in time to help inform a recent Presidential executive order designed to significantly increase travel and tourism in the United States. As the United States looks to increase domestic tourism, increasing tourism from Mexico should be a major priority for our new national strategy.
It is the contention of our new report that any strategy for increasing tourism to the United States must make increasing tourism from Mexico a major priority.
Almost a quarter of all tourists who come to the US today come from Mexico. Mexico is the 12th largest economy in the world and growing very rapidly. With 10 percent of our domestic population in the US now of Mexican descent, a number which is also increasingly rapidly, the number of Mexicans with close relatives in the US to visit is growing and will continue to grow in the years ahead.
Our economic relationship with Mexico has grown by six fold since the passage of NAFTA in 1993, and today Mexico is the US’s third largest trading partner and second largest export market. And of course Mexico is by far and away the closest big country to the United States, offering yet another reason why targeting Mexico to increase tourism here just makes so much sense. For more information please click here.
NDN and NACTS also led a delegation of people from Arizona, Texas, and California for a roundtable discussion at the White House with senior agency officials from the Department of Commerce, Interior, Homeland Security and the Presidents National Economic Council on the importance of the Southwest Border to the overall economy of the country and the need to enhance travel and tourism to the region. This is the third group of leaders from the border region that NDN has brought to the White House as part of a broader
This is only part of the story, the economic relationship that the U.S. enjoys with Mexico is enormous and growing, though underappreciated. Trade with Mexico supports six million of jobs in the United States, and millions of Mexicans visit the U.S. every year as tourists, growing local economies in the Southwest and the rest of the nation as well. Consider the following.
- Mexico is our number 2 export market, that is to say, our second most important customer for items made in the U.S.A.
- Mexico has the second largest number of visits to the United States, with 13.42 million in 2011, and account for a quarter for all the tourists that visit the U.S. annually.
- There is more untapped tourism potential in Mexico. This is because of its growing middle class, now the majority group for the first time in Mexico’s history, as Mexican analysts Luis Rubio and Luis de la Calle outline in their new book Mexico:
- A Middle Class Society: Poor No More, Developed Not Yet. Middle class status, which according to Rubio and de la Calle has been attained by at least 53% of the nation’s inhabitants, is measured in a number of ways. These include increased educational attainment, homeownership, automobile ownership, and the economic means to take at least one trip per year, among others.