March 22, 2012 - The North American Center for Transborder Studies (NACTS) was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion at the White House on Tuesday, March 20 with senior officials from the Departments of Commerce, Interior, Homeland Security and the President's National Economic Council. The discussion focused on the importance of the Southwest border to the overall economy of the country and specifically the need to enhance travel and tourism from Mexico to the region.
NACTS Associate Director Erik Lee presented a new report to the group of officials entitled Realizing the Full Value of Tourism from Mexico to the United States. NACTS Policy and Research Analyst and WP Carey MBA student Alejandro Figueroa also participated in the event and was a co-researcher on the report along with NACTS Director Rick Van Schoik and Lee.
Earlier that day, NACTS and the New Policy Institute (NPI) released the report at a public event at NPI's offices in Washington. Lee discussed the report's principal findings as part of a panel that included Eduardo Chaillo of the Mexican Tourism Board and David Huether of the U.S. Travel Association.
The report comes in time to help inform a recent Presidential executive order
designed to significantly increase travel and tourism to the United States. Mexico has the second largest number of visits to the United States, with 13.42 million in 2011, and accounts for a quarter for all the tourists that visit the U.S. annually. The country has the world's 12th largest economy and a growing middle class. As the United States looks to increase international tourism, specifically increasing tourism from Mexico should be a major priority for our new national strategy.
This is the second in a series of reports seeking to educate policymakers and citizens alike about the evolving and growing economic power of the region. The first report, Realizing the Full Value of Our Crossborder Trade with Mexico
, focused on the important trade relationship between the United States and Mexico. The economic relationship that the U.S. enjoys with Mexico is enormous and growing, though underappreciated. Mexico is the 12th largest economy in the world. Our economic relationship with Mexico has grown by six fold since the passage of NAFTA in 1993, and today Mexico is the US's third largest trading partner and second largest export market. Millions of Mexicans visit the U.S. every year as tourists, growing local economies in the Southwest and the rest of the nation as well.