MEXICO CITY, July 24, 2006"”The numbers and revenue show that sports enthusiasts are increasingly traveling to Mexico to get their hearts pumping and muscles moving. Both amateur and professional athletes are contributing to the ever-continuing expansion of Mexico's sports tourism segment.

Many sports benefit from Mexico's natural beauty and unique backdrops, a fact not gone unnoticed by professional sporting event planners. Mexico has recently hosted many high-profile international sporting events, including Rip Curl's Pro Search surfing event, part of the Association of Surfing Professionals' Men's World Championship Tour last June, and the PGA's 2006 Champions Tour's Puerto Vallarta Blue Agave Golf Classic last March. Upcoming events include the yearly Mexico City International Marathon in August.

Amateur athletes and sports lovers are also helping to spur Mexico's sports sector growth. 2005 enjoyed robust numbers, with sports activities pumping approximately US$1.27 billion into the national economy. Several high-grossing sports activities which contributed to the impressive overall figure.

* In 2005, 600 thousand golfers traveled to Mexico, generating $400 million.
* Triathlons attracted 36 thousand travelers to Mexico, who in turn generated US$6 million in 2005.
* In 2005, diving and relating activities produced US$200 million in revenue.
* Sports fishing reeled in $500 million in 2005.


Bright future forecast for sports tourism

The increased popularity of Mexico's sports tourism sector echoes travel developments on a global scale. The World Tourism Organization predicts that sports tourism will be the second most important travel segment by 2020.

Sports tourism's bright future recently prompted Mexico Tourism Secretary Rodolfo Elizondo to underscore the importance of developing this segment during a national sports tourism conference.

"Sports tourism plays an important role in the evolution of Mexico's tourism industry. As we continuously improve infrastructure and sports tourism offerings on both a local and regional level, Mexico's position as a sports tourism destination will be solidified, more jobs will be generated and we will attract investors," he said.

Elizondo went on to mention that Mexico's active support of the sports tourism sector is part of Sectur's strategy to diversify the country's tourism offerings beyond its already-successful products like sun and beaches, nature tourism, and cultural tourism, among others.

Globe Trekker - Mexico