Mexico’s cruise industry has hit a new milestone, with an unprecedented 2.9 million passengers arriving in the first quarter of 2023, according to a report from the Ministry of Tourism.
This impressive figure marks an increase of more than 80 percent compared to the same period in 2022 and an increase of nearly 10 percent compared to the first quarter of 2019, the busiest cruise year in history.
A Surge in Cruise Arrivals and Economic Impact
Mexico’s cruise tourism industry is experiencing an unprecedented boom, with a record-breaking 2.9 million guests arriving in the first quarter of 2023. This represents a stunning increase in arrivals and economic impact as the country’s investment in tourism pays off.
Secretary of Tourism, Miguel Torruco Marqués, reported that the arrival of 995 cruise ships in this period has resulted in a foreign exchange income of 241 million dollars, marking an increase of 104% compared to the same period of 2022.
This surge in arrivals is about more than just numbers. It signifies an impressive recovery and growth of Mexico’s tourism sector, with the average expenditure of cruise passengers increasing to 80.9 dollars, a jump of 10.1% from the 73.5 dollars registered in the same period of 2022.
Mexico is home to the busiest cruise port in the world, Cozumel, but that’s not all the country has to offer. Both the Caribbean side as well as the Pacific coastline are incredibly popular destinations for cruise ships.
Certain destinations have seen particularly significant growth. Cozumel and Costa Maya on the Caribbean side, as well as Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada, and Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific side, were the ports that received the highest number of cruise passengers, accounting for a staggering 94.6% of the total.
Cozumel saw 409 arrivals and over 1.28 million guests. This is 18.9% more cruise ship arrivals and 115.1% more cruise passengers than in 2022. Despite receiving fewer vessels than Cozumel, Costa Maya reported 145 arrivals with nearly half a million guests, an increase of 48.5% over the first quarter of 2022.
On the Mexican Riviera, Cabo San Lucas welcomed 100 vessels with over 300,000 guests, showing a 26.6% in ships and a 132.4% increase in passengers compared to 2022.
Puerto Vallarta saw the arrival of 73 cruise ships with over 222,000 guests, a growth of 28.6% and 113.8% compared to the first quarter of 2022.
Ensenada, with 92 cruise ship arrivals and 274,352 passengers, dramatically increased 253.8% and 506.1% in the number of ships and guests compared to the same period in 2022. The massive increase in Ensenada can be attributed to the unrest that spoiled much of the cruise season last year.
Mexico Heading for a Record-Breaking Year
All in all, Mexico could be heading to the biggest year in history, possibly beating the impressive arrival numbers of 2019. In that year, Mexican ports received 2,951 cruise ships; these ships brought with them 8,926,617 passengers.
With the 995 cruise ships that visited Mexico in the first three months of the year and the 2.9 million passengers, the country’s ports are well underway to surpass those numbers.
However, the initial months of the year typically witness a peak in arrivals, with the summer months seeing a slowdown. This pattern is due to the popularity of Alaska and European cruises during the warmer months. Still, the data suggest that Mexico’s ports are on a promising course to a record-breaking year.
Sources: Cruise Hive • Pasillo Turistico