Nearshoring Boosts Business Tourism, Mexico Eyes Recovery

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MÉXICO » News » January 2024 » Nearshoring Boosts Business Tourism, Mexico Eyes Recovery

Published by Juan Luis Ramos | El Sol de México on January 8, 2024

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Business tourism is on the upswing, showing signs of recovery and gearing up for its best year post-pandemic impact. From January to November 2023, over half a million international tourists flocked to Mexico for business purposes, marking a 3.3 percent growth compared to the previous year, as reported by the Migration Policy Unit of the Ministry of the Interior (Segob).

The rebound in business tourism is attributed to the influx of new investments and the relocation of plants, primarily from Asian countries, a trend known as nearshoring. Ignacio Martínez, coordinator of the Analysis Laboratory in Commerce, Economy, and Business (LACEN) at UNAM, highlighted the role of nearshoring in this growth, emphasizing the attraction of investments to the country.

Within the realm of business tourism, two distinct segments have emerged. The traditional one focuses on visitors in the Bajío and northern regions, while a newer profile is flourishing in the south-southeast, attracted by projects like the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (CIIT) and the surrounding development poles.

The creation of Wellbeing Development Poles, with plans to tender 10 poles for industrial parks, is a key initiative by the federal government. These parks aim to draw investments from sectors such as automotive, energy, aeronautics, manufacturing, and agri-food. Companies like Mota Engil, Grupo Constructor Ursedic, and the consortium formed by Profharmax and Transportadora Comexsa have already secured the first CIIT poles.

Despite the positive growth, business tourism is yet to reach its pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, 941 thousand foreigners visited Mexico for business reasons, almost double the current numbers. The slow recovery is attributed to the popularity of remote work tools like Zoom and Teams during the pandemic, providing companies with alternatives to in-person meetings.

Looking ahead, Ignacio Martínez anticipates that business tourism may reach or even surpass pre-crisis levels in 2024 and 2025. The Ministry of Economy has identified 305 nearshoring projects, bringing a potential capital injection of approximately $105 billion, fueling optimism for sustained growth.

Martínez predicts that recent challenges in the Panama Canal and the Red Sea will drive export companies to explore new options, including Mexico with the CIIT. As a result, the country is expected to witness a surge in investments and business tourism, positioning itself as a promising hub for international business activities.

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