MAZATLAN, Mexico – Despite the challenges, Mexico is prepared to receive several million additional tourists from the United States in the next few years, Alejandro Zozaya, CEO of US-based travel and hospitality conglomerate Apple Leisure Group (ALG), said on Wednesday.
Zozaya said that these challenges are linked to the instability caused by insecurity in Mexico, as well as to the fact that more than half of US citizens do not have passports.
US citizens, however, have been traveling much more in recent years, creating important opportunities for Mexico, the world’s No. 8 tourism destination.
According to Zozaya, around 40 percent of Americans have passports, although every year some 15 million passports are being issued in the US, of which eight million are from first-time applicants.
This means that in 10 years there will be an additional 80 million US citizens with passports, Zozaya said, speaking at the Tianguis Turistico 2018, Mexico’s most important tourism fair.
“If Mexico receives just 20 percent of those 80 million Americans with new passports, that would mean doubling the number of US tourists that visit Mexico every year,” the executive said.
Considered to be a visionary figure in Mexico’s hotel industry, Zozaya explained ALG’s strategy for the coming years, a company that operates 52 hotels and has another 20 under construction.
He said that ALG’s planned merger with Mark Travel Corporation will strengthen the company’s position in the US tourism sector.
The merger, which is awaiting approval from US and Mexican regulators, is likely to help increase the number of passengers bound for Mexico through a rise in the number of chartered flights and by offering more destinations, Zozaya said.
During the Tianguis Turistico 2018, ALG subsidiary AMResorts announced four new hotel management contracts in Mexico, two in the Riviera Maya and two in Punta Mita (in the state of Nayarit), which represent the most important and fastest growing tourist destinations in Mexico.