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The international tourism industry has grown considerably over the last few years, increasing from 691 million international tourists in 2002 to 898 million in 2007,11 representing a CAGR of
7%. Europe receives 54% of all international tourists, while Asia receives 20% and the Americas
16%. With 21.4 million international tourists in 2007, Mexico is the eighth largest tourist destination in the world in terms of number of international arrivals, and the second largest in the
Americas, after the US.12 When measured in terms of international tourism receipts, Mexico is the eleventh most important destination in the world and the second largest in the Americas, after the US Tourism.
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When comparing the average expenditure per trip of tourists in Mexico vis-à-vis competing tourism destinations in the region, it can be observed that Mexico underperforms its peers. There are several reasons for this. First, Mexico caters to a less sophisticated clientele than other destinations in the region. Mexico attracts a large number of budget travelers and ‘spring breakers,’ who tend to be more frugal than more sophisticated travelers. Also, due to the proximity of Mexico to the US, many travelers can take shorter vacations, as it is actually possible to take weekend getaways and short trips. In comparison, when travelers decide to visit places like Jamaica, Aruba, Bahamas, Panama, or Costa Rica, they tend to stay longer as the destination is far away from home and hence it is less likely that tourists will take a two-day vacation to one of these spots.
The 2008 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index ranks Mexico 55 out of 130 countries.
Mexico ranks highly in terms of its natural and cultural resources, as well as in prioritizing travel and tourism. However, Mexico ranks especially low in safety and security, as well as in affinity for tourism, environmental sustainability, price competitiveness, and ground transportation infrastructure.
Mexico performs particularly well in terms of number of World Heritage cultural sites (rank: 6), total know species (8), number of World Heritage natural sites