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Making travel plans? Maybe you should consider Mexico. According to an annual report conducted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Mexico has leapt from the eighth to the sixth most popular travel destination in the world, following record-breaking tourist arrivals in 2017. This upsurge shouldn’t surprise us, says Mr. Kaloyan Valentinov Danchev, CEO of Fidelis Marketing Group, which specializes in luxury vacations at some of Mexico’s hottest resort communities. Despite an ongoing battle against crime, Mexico’s travel and tourism industry has been expanding since the first half of the twentieth century, when the government launched its first travel initiatives. In the last five years, the government has redoubled its efforts, overcoming a pre-2014 downslide to regain a top-ten slot as one of the world’s most visited spots. Per UNWTO, the other nine contenders are France, Spain, the US, China, Italy, the UK, Turkey, Germany, and Thailand.
Another article cites a recent report from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which ranked Mexico as the fifth country most invested in travel and tourism, among the Group of Twenty (G20). The industry supplies one in six jobs in Mexico, accounting for 17% of the country’s employment rate. The same source states that this boom was initiated by the government’s FONATUR plan, which has been promoting long-term industry growth via luxury resorts since the 1970s. More recently, in 2013, the department of the Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR) started an international travel campaign called “Live It to Believe It,” with a similar, smaller promotion for US Latinos known as “My Mexico.”
The Oxford Business Group and a more recent source indicate that most of the visitors to Mexico come from the US (56%) and Canada (12%), with the latter accounting for one percent less than the total number of visitors from Europe. This should come as no surprise, as the US is one of the largest contributors to foreign and domestic travel worldwide. Six in ten or 62% of the 328.6 million people in the US reported taking a vacation in 2017, and Americans accounted for 90% of the 10.6 million people who visited Mexico in the first quarter of 2018 alone.
Research reveals that the majority of US travelers want authentic, bespoke vacations that contribute to their sense of wellbeing, novelty, and adventure. These travel preferences can range anywhere from the bohemian to the luxurious, with 92% of American travelers citing rest and relaxation as their primary vacation mode. Wellness retreats with full-service spas are on the rise, thanks to government initiatives and private resorts, like the ones that Fidelis represents, which have fast converted their high-end accommodations into oases of peace and tranquility.
One of the modern resort offerings is the ancient ceremony known as temazcal. Originally practiced by the early Mesoamerican elite, the ritual takes place in a sweat lodge called a temazcal, which is derived from the Nahuatl word temāzcalli, meaning “house of heat.” The structures is commonly constructed of cement and volcanic rock and heated by the latter, which prevents the stones from shattering from the heat. The subsequent steam is combined with aromatics, chants, and prayers provided by a shaman.
Other spa and wellness services include massages, facials, and hydrotherapy treatments. Pro-designed golf courses can provide another relaxing form of outdoor recreation for both experts and beginners. Outside the resort, tourist attractions like the ancient Mayan cities of Bonampak, Chichen Itza, Palenque, and Tulum provide rich cultural experience. Such features can be hugely appealing to travelers searching for something beyond the ordinary. By keeping a finger on the pulse of these evolving trends, experts like Valentino Danchev are confident that Mexico will continue to attract travelers from all parts of the globe.