Tourism to Mexico might be back on the rise, but those numbers will be small in comparison to the boom that awaits Mexico should it become a top destination for Chinese travelers.
Mexico hopes that this week’s visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping will spark a mass influx of tourists from China, the world’s largest tourism spender.
But officials and industry insiders say it’s still a long way before Mexico can capitalize on the opportunity.
Xi and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto toured the Mayan archaeological site of Chichen Itza on Thursday.
The Chinese leader says he trusts that some of the 400 million Chinese tourists who will travel abroad in the next five years will find Mexico’s ancient ruins and resort cities alluring.
Mexico’s Tourism Department announced on Thursday that the goal is to increase flights from China and train more Mandarin-speaking guides.
About 50,000 Chinese visited Mexico last year. Ten times that number of U.S. citizens visit Mexico each month.
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Photo credit: Mexico's President Enrique Pena and his wife Angelica Rivera instruct their security detail to allow access to China's presidential photographer, as they prepare for a group photo with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and his wife Peng Liyuan, near the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, southern Mexico, Thursday, June 6, 2013. Eduardo Verdugo / AP Photo