Mexican Tourism rising after long decline

While its drug cartels frequently make headlines all over the world for their bloody disputes, Mexico’s tourism is actually on the upswing.

Violence, a poor economy and the H1N1 outbreak of 2009 had combined to clobber Mexico’s tourist business the last few years. The sharp decline which began in 2009 is only now starting to reverse its self.

Mexico’s reputation had plummeted so drastically that San Francisco State University cancelled its study abroad program to Mexico for the 2011 – 2012 school year. Students were given the option of going to countries such as Chile, instead which ironically put them in the middle of Santiago’s violent protests.

Some say the current upswing in Mexican tourism has been aided by a series of profiles the NYT has done on Mexican cities like Oaxaca, Huamantla and Mérida. And even more attractively, flights during the high season from the Bay Area to Mexico City on Kayak and Volaris routinely cost less than $500, where flights to European destinations easily exceed $1,000.

Overall, American tourism has increased a respectable 10.6 percent but is only a small fraction of the influx of travelers from other countries. Chinese visitors to Mexico have increased 30 percent, Russians by 55 percent and Brazilians an impressive 66 percent.