Press Release

Reps. Cuellar and McCaul Introduce Legislation Promoting Tourism Between the U.S. and Mexico

Legislation will help rebuild key industry

Washington | Charlotte Laracy, DC Press Secretary (202-226-1583); Alexis Torres, District Press Secretary (956-286-6007), April 23, 2021

Washington, D.C.—Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) and Congressman Michael McCaul (TX-10), chairmen of the U.S.-Mexico Interparliamentary Group, introduced the United States-Mexico Tourism Improvement Act. This legislation will increase governmental cooperation between the United States and Mexico to reinvigorate tourism in both the United States and Mexico.

“Before the pandemic, tourism with Mexico was a critical economic driver for our economy. However, this industry has been in the decline,” said Congressman Cuellar. This bill will build a more resilient tourism economy post COVID-19 by bolstering tourism between our two countries and strengthening our relationship with Mexico. As the chair of the U.S.-Mexico Interparliamentary Group, I am committed to working with our southern neighbor to expand opportunity, prosperity and security in both countries.”

“Last year, our hospitality, retail and cultural educational sectors we gravely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Congressman McCaul. “It is important that we continue to support these critical economic sectors as our economy rebuilds. By improving bilateral tourism between the U.S. and Mexico, we can start driving business back to companies that depend on tourists.” 

Expanding Bilateral and Joint Tourism

The bill will specifically:

  1. Continue deepening bilateral tourism through governmental cooperation between the United States and Mexico;
  2. Improve third-party tourism to the United States and Mexico though join international promotional efforts; and
  3. Prioritize and expand the tourism industries in both counties by emphasizing exchanges in international economic sectors, including hospitality and accommodation, retail, and cultural education.

Mexican Tourism in Decline

In 2016, Mexican tourism to the United States peaked at 18,990,585 visitors, constituting 1 in 4 (24.9 percent) of all tourists that year. Additionally, in 2016, spending by Mexican tourists in the United States totaled $17.5 billion, which represented a 0.7 percent growth from 2015.

Tourist activity to the United States from Mexico has declined since 2016, which is in contrast to an overall international tourism industry increase in the United States. In 2019, international tourist arrivals totaled 79,300,000, up 3.8 percent from 76,400,000 in 2016. However, also in 2019, there was a 3.5-percent decline in visitors to the United States from Mexico compared to 2016, comprising a loss of 662,404 Mexican tourists. In addition, the total spending from Mexican tourists has plateaued, only increasing slightly from $17.5 billion in 2016 to $17.6 billion in 2019, comprising an increase of $72 million, or 0.4 percent.

Read the United States-Mexico Tourism Improvement Act here.