Mexico's New-And Reef-Ridden-Waters - Treasure from Tourism

By Peschard-Sverdrup, Armand B. | The World and I, May 2002 | Go to article overview

Mexico's New-And Reef-Ridden-Waters - Treasure from Tourism


Peschard-Sverdrup, Armand B., The World and I


In Mexico, a synonym for gringos could well be dinero (money).

Mexico attracts some 20 million tourists a year, most of them from its big northern neighbor, the United States of America. The visitors' $8 billion a year in spending supports approximately 1.8 million jobs. Acapulco alone generates $1 billion a year from foreigners' spending.

All of this makes tourism Mexico's second-largest earner of foreign exchange, behind its petroleum revenues.

In 1993, the latest year for which data are available, 83 percent of tourists were from the United States, many of them coming for short visits from the border states of Texas, California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Eight percent of the visitors came from Europe and 6 percent from other Latin American countries. In 1990, U.S. residents made about 70 million visits to border cities in Mexico, and Mexicans made 88 million visits to American border towns. Mexico has approximately 8,000 hotels and 353,000 hotel rooms.

Mexico City is the most popular tourist destination, with Acapulco next. In the mid-1970s, the government's tourism-development agency, Fonatur, began to promote new tourist sites, among them Zihuatanejo, Ixtapa, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Puerto Escondido on the Pacific coast; Cancun, an island and resort town off the Yucatan Peninsula's Caribbean coast; and Los Cabos, a sport fishing and resort center at the tip of the Baja California peninsula. …

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