The perception of insecurity among companies in the Mexican tourism sector has increased significantly in recent months. It has already started affecting the number of tourists visiting Mexico. The Universidad Anáhuac's Center for Tourism Research and Competitiveness (Cicotur) reported that nearly 94% of service providers and businesses warn about the "effects derived from insecurity" by the end of the second quarter of 2023. This is the highest level in almost three years, last seen in late 2020 when the perception of insecurity in tourism businesses reached 95%.
According to Cicotur's quarterly report on the Panorama of Tourism Activity, 36% of service providers reported that insecurity significantly impacts their business. Additionally, 58% of companies in the sector stated that criminal activities in the country's tourist destinations affect their operations, albeit to a lesser extent.
The director of Cicotur, Francisco Madrid, stated to Publimetro that out of the service providers asked if insecurity has affected their business, 9 out of 10 responded with a "yes." Additionally, two to three out of ten establishments stated that it has affected them significantly. However, he emphasized that this perception of insecurity does not slow down travel demand to different destinations in the country. He mentioned that it is a challenge to achieve significant growth rates in the industry due to this perception.
Insecurity slows down travel to Mexico
According to economist Mónica Urrutia, the problem of insecurity in Mexico is affecting tourists' travel plans. This is resulting in a decrease in the number of people choosing to vacation in Mexican territory. She highlighted that Mexico's low ranking in the World Economic Forum's Tourism Competitiveness Index proves insecurity's negative impact on tourism. Mexico is ranked 117th out of 117 countries analyzed in the index.
Urrutia further explained that this is one of the reasons why border tourism has not fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels, unlike international travel arrivals. Between January and August 2023, only 9.8 million border tourists visited Mexico, 28% lower than the 13.6 million recorded before the Covid-19 pandemic. These border tourists typically cross by car or on foot to border cities, where incidents of violence, insecurity, and highway robbery are common. This has led to a sense of alertness and caution among people.
Figures of Mexican tourism
Between January and August 2023, approximately 27.9 million tourists entered Mexico, a decline of 6.3% compared to the level recorded in 2019, before the pandemic. Despite this decline, the country managed to capture a significant amount of foreign currency. This was 21 thousand 182.3 million dollars earned during the same period, representing a 13.29% increase compared to 2022.
The number of tourists entering Mexico by air increased significantly in 2023, with 15.5 million arriving in the first eight months of the year. This represents a 9.4% increase compared to 2022 and a 14.2% increase compared to 2019.