FLORA, FAUNA, AND MORE

Mexico 2016 | TOURISM | FOCUS: ECO-TOURISM

Mexico is back on the travel itinerary and ready to offer up more than just the traditional sun, sea, and sand formula.

In 2015 Mexico gained back its spot among the top 10 most visited nations in the world as the number of international tourists the country hosted rose from 24.2 million to 29.1 million in only two years. As global tourism grew timidly at 4.7%, tourism in Mexico has increased at 20.5% per year during President Peña Nieto's administration.

While Mexico's tourism sector is most well known for sun, sea, and sand locations such as Cancún and Puerto Vallarta, the country is aiming to promote broader tourism development and take advantage of its geographic range, biodiversity, and cultural history with an increased focus on ecotourism.

Mexico has a range of strengths in terms of the ecotourism industry. The country ranks fourth in the list of countries with the largest biodiversity; it possesses 12% of global biodiversity and is the country with the greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Americas. According to the Secretary of Tourism, Mexico has 93 national protected areas covering a total of 11.8 million ha, nearly 6% of the country.

Recently, the Secretary of Tourism launched an investment plan committing $380 million pesos to finance 83 ecotourism projects across the country. The money will be aimed specifically at diversifying and upgrading the touristic offering in each state. Enrique de la Madrid, Secretary of Tourism, stated that “tourism employs 2 million people directly and another 5 million indirectly, amounting to 9% of GDP." The Secretary of Tourism estimates that ecotourism currently accounts for just 20% of Mexico's overall tourism revenue, which leaves much room for further more growth.