Market Overview

    Yr/Yr % Chg
Total Visitors to California (2014) * 7,572,000 1.3%
Visitors by Air (2014) * 542,000  5.3%
Total Visitor Spending (2014) ** $2,942 million -1.8%
Visitor Spend by Air Travelers (2014) ** $526 million  2.7%
California Market Share of Total Visitors (2014) 44.3% -
California Market Share of Air Travelers (2014) 23.0% -
Average Length of Stay - nights - by Air Travelers (2013) 8.2  
Weekly Non-Stop Flights (2015) 423 3.4%
Weekly Non-Stop Seats (2015) 62,516 1.6%
2015 Visitation Forecast (% change vs. 2014) 7,900,000 4.3%
2015 Visitation Forecast by Air (% change vs. 2014) 532,000 2.1%
2018 Visitation Forecast (% change vs. 2014) 9,400,000 24.1%
2018 Visitation Forecast by Air (% change vs. 2014) 571,000 9.6%

Source: Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, CIC Research, Tourism Economics, OAG

* Visitor volumes: The U.S. Department of Commerce started to count one-night visitors in 2014. This change inflated Yr/Yr visitation gains compared to previous years but delivers a more accurate picture of total visitation.

** Visitor spending: The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis made changes to their methodology in 2014 to include spending by students, temporary workers, and people traveling for reasons related to their health. Although this change increased total travelers, some Yr/Yr declines in spending per visitor have been seen which are more likely related to the gaining strength of the US dollar vs. foreign currencies in the 4th quarter of 2014.

Visitor Spending by Category 2013

  % spending $ Category Spending
Accommodations 32.3% $165 million
Entertainment/Recreation 10.0% $51 million
Food & Beverage 17.2% $88 million
Ground Transportation 3.5% $18 million
Shopping 23.8% $122 million
U.S. Air Transportation 9.5% $49 million
Other 3.1% $16 million
Total 100.0% $512 million

Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce; CIC Research, Inc.; U.S. BEA; Tourism Economics


International Markets

With 542,000 air travelers from Mexico to California in 2014, Mexico is one of California’s Top 5 international markets.

Mexican visitors arriving by air spent approximately $526 million collectively with a $970 average spend per trip in 2014. In 2013, Mexican visitors by air stayed an average of 8.2-nights per trip. Mexican air arrivals to California have steadily increased for the past five years from 335,000 in 2009, to 542,000 in 2014.

The Mexican market will continue to be interested in California and, as the data show, that interest is only growing, with a forecasted increase of 9.6 percent expected through 2018. California’s proximity to Mexico is a distinct advantage, while the challenge is keeping California fresh as a destination with limitless opportunities and experiences across the target market segments.

While travel agencies continue to be critical market influencers, the Mexican booking pattern also has shifted recently with the country offering tremendous opportunity online. The travel trade program has been a staple in the market with additional funding and efforts geared toward programs to provide further education and drive consumer demand.

Over the past 18 months, Visit California executed a digital advertising campaign and a recent spring television spot to highlight the vast travel offerings in California. A strategic layered consumer campaign is anticipated in the coming fiscal year, which will include digital and television.


The Mexican economy experienced growth, an increase in consumer confidence and structural government and banking changes in 2014 with the benefits expected to continue into 2015. Major reforms across key sectors, such as energy, telecommunications, education and finance have provided a boost to the economy.

Gross Domestic Product estimates for 2014 show growth of 2.4 percent, with forecasts for 2015 at 3.5 percent. Consumer confidence increased from 84 percent in January 2014 to 93 percent in January 2015. The decline of the peso against the U.S. dollar over the last half of 2014 is also affecting consumer confidence, thought the fluctuation typical for Mexican consumers, and not expected to affect the country’s travel outlook.


Nonstop Airservice into California

    Avg. Weekly Flights Avg. Weekly Seats  
Airport Airline 436 67,380 Cities Served
FAT Aeromexico 3 596 Guadalajara
  Volaris  7 1,218 Guadalajara
LAX Volaris  35 5,901 Aguascalientes, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Morelia, Uruapan, Zacatecas
  Delta 49 7,342 Cancun, Guadalajara, Ixtapa, Leon, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Monterrey, Puerto Vallarta, 
  United 40 4,663 Cancun, Durango, Leon, Mexico City, Puerto Vallart, San Jose del Cabo
  Virgin  4 626 Cancun
  Aeromexico 62 9,126 Gudalajara, Hermosillo, La Paz, Mexico City, 
  Alaska 53 7,848 Guadalajara, Ixtapa, Loreto, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, San Jose del Cabo
  American 14 2,132 San Jose del Cabo
OAK Volaris  15 2,513 Guadalajara, Leon, Mexico City, Morelia, Tijuana 
ONT Aeromexico 4 725 Guadalajara
  Volaris  5 951 Guadalajara
SNA Southwest  16 3,324 Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, San Jose del Cabo
SMF Aeromexico 6 1,105 Guadalajara
  Volaris  6 984 Guadalajara
SAN Volaris  4 539 Guadalajara, Mexico City
  Alaska 15 2,298 Puerto Vallarta, San Jose del Cabo
  Wings of Alaska 3 30 San Felipe 
  Delta  1/3 49 San Jose del Cabo
  Spirit 6 1,074 San Jose del Cabo
SFO United 29 5,204 Cancun, Mexico City, Puerto Vallart, San Jose del Cabo
  Virgin  8 939 Cancun, San Jose del Cabo
  Aeromexico 20 3,261 Guadalajara, Leon, Mexico City, Morelia 
  Alaska 12 1,858 Puerto Vallarta, San Jose del Cabo
SJC Alaska 12 1,854 Guadalajara, San Jose del Cabo
  Volaris  7 1,218 Guadalajara



Air arrivals from Mexico into California saw a 4.8 percent increase in 2014, especially from low-cost carriers that have recently launched more service to the United States, entering markets that were previously dominated by their full-service counterparts. The push for more U.S.-bound service was prompted as Mexican carriers faced a relatively challenging environment in their domestic markets with weaker-than-expected growth in 2014 putting pressure on fares.

Volaris, one of Mexico’s leading budget airlines, expanded service to the United States and now serves 18 U.S. airports compared with 13 a year ago. The airline launched new service last year to California’s Ontario International Airport, and late in 2014, began service to Oakland from both Morelia and Leon. In December, Volaris launched Guadalajara–Reno service, which benefits the California snow destinations.

The recent agreement between the U.S. and Mexican governments, which will eliminate limits on the number of airlines that can serve U.S.-Mexico City pairs effective January 2016, is expected to result in more trans-border service in coming years.


Trip Information and Booking Sources** (2013)

  Travel Information Air Travel Booking Methods
Travel Agencies 13.9% 22.0%
Airlines Direct 50.7% 41.8%
Tour Operators 6.6% 4.9%
Personal Computer/OTA 43.6% 39.6%
Corporate Travel Office 9.4% 8.2%
Personal Recommendation 20.9% n.a.
Travel Guide 10.0% n.a.


** multiple sources

Travel Trends

  • Growing interest in experiential travel, including adventure and outdoor travel and ecotourism.
  • Increase in online travel booking with travel now the No. 1 category for e-commerce in Mexico.
  • More long-weekend travel as the middle class grows, with additional school holidays.
  • Rising mobile phone use for research and purchases.
  • Mexican consumers seeking new travel opportunities beyond the familiar shopping and theme park trips.
  • Greater interest in niche travel as consumers aspire to make travel a personal growth experience that is an extension of their personal interests.
  • Growing luxury travel market as consumer income for the high-end market continues to increase.


Market Strategies


  • Grow airline partnerships.
  • Continue agent training and education through in-person workshops, using sales incentives, training tools and FAMs. Emphasize product development and providing new and fresh information, while maintaining an active market presence.
  • Increase trade and consumer media pitching, growing the number of press FAMs, outreach to digital influencers and delivering fresh, focused and exciting story ideas.
  • This strategic foundation drove the development of California-only product brochure by Julia Tours, and the Palacio de Hierro (department store) promotional campaign.



  • Two flights planned to influence the major travel periods (Christmas, Easter and summer) will be executed with cross-channel media support.
  • Paid television and online TV will reach the affluent households.
  • Out-of-home will provide high exposure among the Mexico target audience, especially in Mexico City and Guadalajara where long car commutes are common.
  • Digital investment will provide consistent in-market presence and support pillar-based niche targeting.
  • In-market strategy will leverage trade and strategic partnerships, increasing partner outreach and integration, using traditional and social media to drive sales, and execute media stunts in the marketplace to break through the crowded trade and consumer media marketplace.
  • Explore new program opportunities with airline, tour operator, bank and car rental partnerships.
  • Content will deliver pillar-driven, targeted information that drives interest and sales of California as a destination, while leveraging social media and digital influencers.


2015/2016 Plan Highlights

Mexico’s trade and public relations plan highlights include:

  • A brand advertising layered approach – including TV, digital and out-of-home channels – geared to increase visitation beyond the gateways and increase overall destination awareness.
  • Develop partnerships with key market influencers to expand reach, increase ROI, provide new product choices and visitation options, and grow booking opportunities
  • Increase press outreach across all platforms (multi-channel) and visibility levels including broadcast, print, digital and blogger media.
  • Leverage digital and social influencers across target pillars to optimize ROI
  • PR stunts that have both national impact and longevity to generate media ROI, social buzz, and interest in California
  • Offering incentives and increasing the benefits of completing the online training programs
  • Additional product-development-focused travel trade FAMs by top-sellers and trade influencers that are followed by demonstrable products, online campaigns and brochure visibility

Familiarity & Interest of California Areas

  Like to Visit Like to Learn More About It I'm Not Interested
San Francisco Bay Area 80% 20% 4%
San Diego County 68% 24% 10%
Los Angeles County 66% 26% 10%
Deserts 42% 41% 21%
Orange County 39% 44% 18%
Central Coast 35% 49% 18%
North Coast 35% 49% 18%
Shasta Cascade 35% 51% 17%
Central Valley 33% 51% 18%
Gold Country 31% 52% 19%
High Sierra 33% 51% 18%
Inland Empire 21% 56% 19%

Source: Hall & Partners, August 2012

Top 10 Motivating California Features

Disneyland 54%
San Francisco 54%
Hollywood 34%
Los Angeles 33%
Napa Valley/Wineries 32%
Universal Studios/Hollywood 30%
San Diego 29%
Shopping Outlet Malls 25%
Seaworld 21%
Beverly Hills 20%

Source: Hall & Partners, August 2012


Alex Pace
Managing Director
Laura Nesteanu
Account Director
Carlos Allende
Travel Trade Manager
Victoria Osorio
Public Relations Manager
Gabriella Campos
Content Manager
Global Marketing & Sales, Inc.
Phone: 011 52 55 5250 7763


Thank you to our Golden State Sponsors:
MeringCarson Time Inc