Tourism finally surpasses 2019 levels in Mexico


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MEXICO CITY — International tourism in Mexico has finally surpassed pre-pandemic levels, after 10.26 million visitors came to the country in the first half of 2022, Mexico’s tourism department reported Friday.

International arrivals from January to June 2022 increased by 1.5% compared to the 10.11 million tourists who arrived in Mexico in the first half of 2019.

Mexico’s strongest performance was with American tourists. The number of Americans arriving by air in the first six months of the year was 6.66 million; i.e. 19.1% more than in the same period of 2019.

It’s unclear whether the war in Ukraine may have played a role in convincing some Americans to vacation closer to home.

The challenge for Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations – the beaches of the Caribbean coast – is no longer COVID, against the spread of which Mexico has never imposed a flight ban, test or demand for mask. Rather, it is the masses of foul-smelling sargassum seaweed that has accumulated in some places along the coast.

Sargassum wasn’t much of a problem on Mexico’s Caribbean coast before it started drifting ashore in 2014 and 2015. 2022 looks to be a particularly bad year.

Overall, Mexico’s economy grew 1% in the second quarter, the national statistics agency said on Friday.

Economic growth for the first half of 2022 now stands at 1.9%, after expanding 0.9% in the first three months of the year.

The economy recovered by 5% in 2021 after a sharp decline during the coronavirus pandemic.

But growth is expected to slow amid high interest rates and a slowing economy in the United States, by far Mexico’s largest trading partner.

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