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Mexico Market Profile

Visit California opened its Mexico office in 2007 and launched brand advertising in 2013. Since then, Mexico has remained California’s undisputed No. 1 international market.Visit California continues to focus on the family market with programs geared toward this audience. With the growth of the Cross Border Xpress (CBX) at the Tijuana airport, this is a new gateway for California with over 2.2 million users in 2018.California continues to roll out the red carpet for Mexican travelers and leverage the state’s “everyone is welcome” culture to continue to entice visitors.


  • Both leisure and visiting family/friends continue to be primary drivers.
  • Increased long weekends provide California an opportunity with summer school holiday periods shortening.
  • Visit breakdown: 7.9 Million total = 597,000 (air) + 7.3 Million (land)
  • Travelers desire new experiences and trips with a purpose such as learning activities or life skills.
  • Peer recommendations and social media focusing on video are key for consumer decision-making.
  • Traveler spending breakdown: $3.5 Billion total = $677 Million (air) + $2.8 Billion (land)

Mexico Profile

597,000 (air)
In Person Trips, 2018
$677 Million (air)
Visitor Spending, 2018

Market Conditions

GDP Annual Growth Rate

Much of Mexico’s short and long-term outlook will depend on the new president’s commitment to electoral promises and the implementation of the new NAFTA. Although the newly-minted United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) should support the external sector over the long-term, a retreat in global trade could bruise exports. Analysts see growth at 2.4% in 2020. Leaving behind the economic volatility and political uncertainty that pervaded the first half of the year, the services sector was firmly in the driver’s seat again in the third quarter on the post-election upswing of consumer sentiment. In October, President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) call to cancel the new 13 billion (USD) Mexico City International Airport spooked investors, sparking a selloff of the peso. Taking office Dec. 1, AMLO risks starting his presidency off on the wrong foot with a currency depreciation and challenging short-term growth prospects.

Exchange Rate

  • 1 Mexican Peso equals 0.0522 U.S. Dollar
  • After the recent election and announcement of changing financial priorities, the peso has been experiencing additional declines.


Travel & Planning Methodologies


  • 588 weekly non stop flights
  • 93,000 weekly non stop seats (+0.3%)
  • Service to 11 California destinations
  • CBX/Tijuana airport is a new gateway to California with 2.2 million passengers utilizing the CBX in 2018 northbound, representing a 22% year over year increase. 2019 numbers are projected at over 2.6M users.
  • A California Welcome Center at CBX is set to launch in Spring 2019 as a new gateway to the state leveraging airlift into the Tijuana airport. This opens up new opportunities to Southern and Northern CA partners.


  • Planning timeframe: January–March, April–May, August–September
  • Booking timeframe: March, May–June, September–November
  • Main travel seasons are Easter (March or early April), Summer (mid-July through end of August), and Christmas (school holiday periods).
  • Approximately 46% book with airlines directly, closely followed by traditional travel agencies at 25% and online/ OTAs at 22%.
  • More than 35 operators carry California vacation packages.

Market Barriers & Risk Factors

Competitive Landscape


Other Market Insights


  • Travel is driven by leisure and visiting friends/relatives. Family travel continues to play a major role and multi-generational travel is key as children influence the decision-making process.
  • U.S. continues to be the number one destination for the Mexican market. Additionally, with the new President, Mexico has announced the closure of all their international tourism offices and elimination of funding for Visit Mexico.


  • Increased long weekend travel is an opportunity for California. Summer school holiday periods are shortening (only five weeks), leading to increases in long weekend travel.
  • There is an increased need for personalized travel, targeted by audience, price and travel preferences.


  • Shopping and theme parks are still of high interest, but Mexican consumers are looking for new experiences and trips with a purpose (learning activities, life-skills programs, lasting takeaways).
  • There’s a huge opportunity for California to showcase the diversity of family experiences.


  • Mexican consumers are heavy digital users that outsource their travel decision-making to trusted parties, engage in a different way of living while traveling and look for new experiences enriched by digital media. They are also reward hunters.
  • Social media and video are key for consumer campaigns.
  • Peer recommendations are key for travel decision-making. 



  • World Bank
  • Focus Economics
  • Adspend (no paid TV or digital reported)
  • DIIO
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Tourism Economics
  • Carat CCS
  • VISA
  • Amadeus
  • CIC Research, Inc.