Mexico’s Meeting and Conventions Industry Growing as Tourism Surges

ICCA ranks Mexico 22nd worldwide for international association meetings

MEXICO CITY  — Mexico’s Meeting, Incentives, Congress, and Exhibitions business continues to grow, and has been ranked 22nd worldwide in the latest rankings by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).   Mexico moved up five (5) places in the 2010  rankings  from its 2009 ranking of 27th, in the number of events with a nearly 31 percent increase in meetings held in Mexico.

This comes to no surprise, as visitor arrivals to Mexico have been on the rise.  Most recently, the Secretariat of Tourism (SECTUR) announced that in 2010 Mexico was the main destination for tourists from the United States by capturing 14.7 percent of overseas US tourism. This represents the highest number of U.S. travelers to Mexico since 2005, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Destinations and entities continue to invest in infrastructure, equipment and services… But Mexico has much more to offer,” said Gloria Guevara Manzo, Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, in a press release. “In order to continue our competitiveness, we will also promote less well-known destinations that can be of interest for international conventions.”

And international convention planners have clearly taken notice. In 2010, Mexico was host to 140 international conventions, many of them taking place in Mexico City. ICCA ranked Mexico City 15th on the international list of top cities for congresses and conventions, with more than 36,000 annual participants. Mexico City clinched the 5th spot in the Americas category, having hosted 43 conventions. International meetings are defined as those organized by international associations which take place on a regular basis and rotate between a minimum of three countries.

The conventions and meetings industry and tourism growth may be in part due to increased levels of investment in tourism projects. During the first trimester of 2011, more than US $900 million were spent on tourism projects in Mexico, according to the Secretary of Tourism. The investments represent a 127 percent increase from 2010.   The Secretary of Tourism, has stated that “the resources were primarily allocated to projects relating to the areas of accommodations, real estate tourism, and the food and beverage industry.”