In December 2016 the current liberal Government mexicoof Canada headed by Prime Minister Trudeau removed a visa requirement for Mexican travelers which had been in place since 2009. It was originally implemented to reduce the amount of immigrants either applying for refugee status in Canada or using the country as their ticket to the USA. However since the removal of said visa requirement the number of Mexican tourists to Canada has risen drastically thanks in great part to the new, easy eTA system and it has not yet seen an alarming increase in applications for permanent immigration.
Reasons for the increase in Mexican tourists
The eTA, similar to the ESTA in the USA, is the Canadian online visa application system for tourists, now officially available to eligible Mexican citizens in Spanish, allowing travel to Canada without a visa. It is a visa-waiver program which permits the holder to enter Canada multiple times during a 5 year validity period.
As well as the eTA visa-waiver system, the rise in vacationing Mexicans in Canada could be a response to the newly-elected US president, Donald Trump. His political stance on relations between the US and Mexico including border control, trade agreements and immigration enforcement are well-known the world over and along with his idea of building a wall traversing the border of the two countries, Mexicans cannot be blamed for wanting to avoid a possible hostile atmosphere during their vacations.
Vacations in Canada for Mexicans
In several cases, tourists who may have initially traveled to the US for their vacations are being put off by Trump and looking elsewhere, to the extent that some tourists have canceled US vacations to later be rescheduled in Canadian territory. One Mexico City plastic surgeon confirmed he had been more inclined to seek out a more hospitable climate to spend his time and money, which led to a new vacation in the Canadian Rockies.
While a Mexican citizen, resident of Whistler, Canada, stated that “people [in Canada] are welcoming and say great things about the [Mexican] culture” whereas he feels the atmosphere is not the same in the US.
Additionally, Justin Trudeau had planned to promote tourism in Canada while establishing a new market for Canadian beef and prior to the inauguration of President Trump, the Mexican Government had been working on improving relations between their two great countries which according to Mexico’s ambassador to Canada, Agustin Garcia-Lopez Loaeza, has been the case with current relations “better than ever”.
There are several other factors that could be a part of the reason for the increment in Mexican tourists in Canada including the weaker Canadian dollar when compared to the US dollar as well as the increase in flights available from AeroMexico to various locations in Canada, established when the visa requirement was lifted.
Facts and Figures
The surge in Mexican tourists visiting Canada has been demonstrated by government figures showing an incredible 70% increase in December 2016 compared to December 2015, just one year prior, when a tourism visa was still a necessity for Mexicans. The rise from around 18 thousand tourists to an outstanding 30 thousand the following year proves that whatever the reason, the number of Mexicans traveling to Canada is sure to grow.