Last Week Congressman Henry Cuellar announced the passage of H.R. 951, the United States-Mexico Tourism Improvement Act of 2019, in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Congressman’s bill, on which fellow Texan, and U.S. Representative, Michael McCaul serves as original cosponsor, seeks to reinvigorate spending by Mexican tourists in the U.S., which declined in 2017, after peaking at $20.6 billion in 2016. Mexican tourism to the United States peaked at nearly 19 million visitors in 2016, constituting 1 in 4 of all international tourists. The bill will next be sent to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
“Tourism is a critical economic driver for the U.S. economy,” said Congressman Cuellar. “Mexico is the second-largest source of tourists to the United States. Improving bilateral tourism with Mexico, will have significant economic impact. I introduced the United States- Mexico Tourism Act to stimulate economic growth by bolstering tourism between our two countries and strengthening our relationship with Mexico.”
“I would like to thank House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and Ranking Member Michael McCaul for taking up this bill and advancing it through committee. I also want to thank Congressmen Gonzalez, Sherman, and Allred for co-sponsoring this bipartisan piece of legislation. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass the bill given the critical role tourism plays to our economy.”
Mexican Tourism in Decline
The number of Mexican visitors has declined since 2016, while overall international tourism to the U.S. has increased. In 2017, there was 6.1% decline in Mexican visitors to the U.S. By comparison, in 2018, all international tourists to the U.S. totaled 76.6 million visitors, a two-year increase of 4.2 percent from 2016. These international visitors spent a combined $255.5 billion on travel exports to the U.S. Conversely, the 2017 decline in Mexican visitors to the U.S. would equate to about $1.24 billion in lost revenue to U.S. businesses and entrepreneurs.
Expanding Bilateral and Joint Tourism
The bill will specifically:
Continue deepening bilateral tourism through governmental cooperation between the United States and Mexico;
Improve third-party tourism to the United States and Mexico though join international promotional efforts; and
Prioritize and expand the tourism industries in both counties by emphasizing exchanges in international economic sectors, including hospitality and accommodation, retail, and cultural education.