Country Plans Mexico;
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Mexico Market Profile

Mexico has remained California’s undisputed No. 1 international market in terms of visitation. California enjoys strong airlift via Tijuana International Airport and the Cross Border Xpress, where more than 2.6 million visitors enter the state annually. Visit California continues to focus on the family market. In this tense political climate, the organization is foregrounding the state’s “everyone is welcome” message at the new CBX Welcome Center and in marketing. Data updated as of February 2020.

Market Profile (air)

$866 Million
Preliminary Visitor Spending, 2019
$985 Million*
Forecasted Visitor Spending, 2023
*Reflects pre-coronavirus forecast.
Market Share (U.S. Spend), 2018

Travel & Planning

Airlift (2019)

  • 518 weekly nonstop flights
  • 84,000 weekly nonstop seats
  • 9 entry points (Fresno, Los Angeles, Oakland, Ontario, Orange County, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose)


  • Average planning timeframe: 2 to 3 months
  • Average booking timeframe: 1 to 2 months
  • Approximately 46% book with airlines directly, closely followed by traditional travel agencies at 25% and OTAs at 22%
  • Peak travel seasons are Easter (March or early April), summer (mid-July through end of August), and Christmas holiday periods

Visitor Characteristics

Sought-After Travel Experiences

  • Hidden gems: Mexican millennials represent the largest segment of travelers to California and prefer to travel to places they have never been.
  • Live like a local: Travelers want to get out of their comfort zone by living like a local and experiencing authentic places.
  • Laid back luxury: California is seen as a place with laid-back luxury, scenic beauty, and lots of entertainment.
  • On-trend: Travelers want to experience what is new, hot and unique.
  • Family travel: Shared experiences with immediate and extended family is important to the Mexican traveler.

How to reach Mexican Travelers

  • Digital Media
  • Social Media
  • OTA

Market Conditions

Mexico’s economy stagnated in 2019 as domestic investment has been slowed by the new administration. Additionally there are variables such as the new USMCA free-trade Agreement, and general rhetoric leading up to the 2020 U.S. election that could impact investments. Household spending looks positive and in line with the tight labor market and strong U.S. economy. The dollar exchange rate is challenging and could impact outbound travel in 2020, but California remains very competitive.

Competitive Landscape

California has a unique position, with strong airlift and the Cross Border Xpress, which sees more than 2.6 million visitors annually. There is interest in long-haul travel to Europe and Asia, but California tops all other U.S. states in both top-of-mind awareness and preference being perceived as a place with laid-back luxury, scenic beauty, entertainment and family experiences.

Interest in visiting California is higher this year than in 2018 (49% vs. 39%), indicating likelihood to visit in the next 12 months. Millennials currently represent one third of the population and have shown strong top-of-mind preference for California. Millennials with kids present an opportunity as they regularly travel, believe in learning and have a more adventurous attitude.

The Peso exchange rate is a concern and could impact length of stay as well as overall visitor spend. Mexican airlines have increased the appeal of travel to Europe and the Middle East by offering attractive new flights. The new administration has instituted new regulations that are causing concern which is resulting in a slowdown in housing and construction.


  • DIIO
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis, NTTO, Dean Runyan, Tourism Economics
  • U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Travel and Tourism Office, “Survey of International Air Travelers”, CIC Research
  • World Bank, Deloitte