Mexico confident tourism sector will grow

Mexico’s comprehensive tourism plan has laid the groundwork to spur the growth of its tourism sector, which is increasing by about 4 percent each year, the country’s tourism secretary told EFE on Wednesday. “We already have the bases our country needed to detonate growth” in the sector, Gloria Guevara said on a recent trip to Europe.

Guevara had the chance to meet with French officials as well as with tour operators and airlines like Air France, which will once again open up the Paris-Cancun route next year and is planning to increase the frequency of flights between France and Mexico, she said.

Thanks to independent promotional activities, Mexico has seen an annual increase of 10 percent in the number of French citizens who visited Mexico in 2011. The aim of Mexico, currently 10th worldwide in the number of foreign visitors, by 2018 is to work its way into the top five.

According to Guevara, the problems of public safety that affect some places in Mexico are not hindering the flow of visitors, since the tourist areas are not among the hotspots for violence. “Mexico has a challenge,” she said. “We know that it’s an important challenge, just like many other nations, but also it’s a country that is very large.” Guevara also noted that the crime problem is concentrated in just 80 of the country’s almost 2,500 municipalities.

The tourism sector represents about 9 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product and generates some 7.5 million jobs. International arrivals increased 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

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