Foreign currency earnings generated by international visitors in Mexico registered an increase of 7.7%, from $3.59 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2013, to $3.87 billion dollars, from January to March this year.
The Ministry of Tourism in Mexico (Sectur) said that this figure is the result of a 5% increase in the flow of tourists who arrived to the country by air, which means that it increased from 3.3 million to 3.5 million tourists as of March 2013.
It is, as explained by the tourism authority, the most important international tourist segment because it accounts for the biggest average expense ($874), 3.8% more than the average expenditure recorded during January-March 2012. As of March this year, there were 3.9 million more tourists, 2% more than the 3.8 million tourists recorded during the first quarter of 2012.
The tourism ministry said that based on a report by the Bank of Mexico the economic turnover by tourists entering Mexico via plane showed an increase of 9%, from $2.81 billion dollars recorded through March 2012, to $3.67 billion dollars from January to March 2013.
Regarding average spending, most of the items recorded positive growth, highlighting the 9.1% increase in average spending by international visitors and 5.7% in the average expenditure of domestic tourists.
In 2012, Mexico received 23 million international tourists, and recorded 178 million domestic tourists. The country generated total revenues of over $11 billion. The highest number of foreign tourists arriving to Mexico came from the United States and Canada, and from countries like the UK, Spain and South American countries.
The tourism sector is the third largest source of foreign exchange earnings of Mexico, after oil and money sent back from emigrants to their families. The tourism sector generates about 9% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and directly employs 2.5 million people.