This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 10/17/2019
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.


The United States is the primary destination for Mexican travelers. In 2018, 18.5 million Mexicans traveled to the United States, representing 23 percent of total foreign arrivals to the United States. Mexico remains the second-largest source of international travelers to the United States after Canada. Experts predict that total arrivals to the United States from Mexico will grow by 2022 to reach over 19 million visitors.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO), spending by Mexican travelers in 2018 (the most recent year for which data is available) totaled USD 20.9 billion, representing a two percent growth over 2017 figures. Travel and tourism exports account for 61 percent of all U.S. service exports to Mexico. The top destinations for Mexican travelers are California, Nevada, Texas, Florida, and New York, followed by New Mexico, Colorado, Illinois, and Georgia.

Arrivals of Mexican Travelers to the United States
(Figures in Millions of Travelers)
 2016201720182019 (Estimated)
Total Arrivals from Mexico19.1517.2818.5018.64
% Change4%-9%4%3%
Total Air Arrivals from Mexico2.542.512.752.83
% Change-3%-1%10%3%
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.


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.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, 35 million U.S. citizens traveled to Mexico in 2017. This travel may also present business opportunities to U.S. firms offering packages and travel services geared towards U.S. travelers to Mexico.

Web Resources

U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office
U.S. Travel


  • International Pow Wow (IPW), May 30–June 3, 2020, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Brand USA Annual Mission to Mexico, January 2020, Mexico City


For more information on the travel and tourism services sector, please contact:
Juan Carlos Ruíz
Commercial Specialist
U.S. Commercial Service—Mexico City
Tel.: +52 (55) 5080-2000 ext. 5223

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

Mexico Travel and Tourism Trade Development and Promotion