Mexico, Iceland and Cyprus experienced significant increases in tourism revenues in 2016, according to a new report from the World Council on Tourism and Travel (WCTA).
But the biggest surprise of the report is not in these data, but in the fact that Azerbaijan, a country that suffered the fall of its currency and almost nobody has in its tourist radar, also registered a strong increase of its income in this area last year.
Here is a look with numbers at four great places to spend your next vacation.
Foreign visitors spent 24% more pesos in Mexico in 2016, according to the CMTV.
The country’s tourism industry -which ranks 17th among the largest in the world- benefited from a weaker peso, which made accommodation and tourist packages cheaper for foreigners and especially for Americans.
The peso’s fall against the dollar was driven by concerns about President Donald Trump’s rhetoric towards Mexico. Trump promised to build a new wall on the border dividing the United States and Mexico, as well as to renegotiate a major free trade agreement between those two countries and Canada, called the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
But tourism took the face off and gave another boost to the country’s economy, as foreign travelers left behind $382 billion Mexican pesos ($20.1 billion dollars) in 2016.
Beyond politics, Mexico is having a great time in the tourism sector.
Last October, Mexico City launched its first Day of the Dead parade, inspired by the fictional parade of the latest James Bond film, Spectre. The country is also hosting chefs from Denmark’s world-famous Noma restaurant, who are setting up a restaurant in Tulum that will be ready in April and May.
The northern nation of Iceland continues to expand its tourism by leaps and bounds, welcoming visitors who are willing to bundle up to fight the cold and unpredictable weather. Tourism revenues in local currency increased by 27.5% last year, according to CMTV.
That boosted the local economy, which grew nearly 5% in 2016, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Iceland has courted tourists through high-profile marketing campaigns and with air offers that encourage people to visit the country for short stopovers.
In addition, the promise of seeing the Northern Lights is a major attraction, which helped bring Iceland 373.ooo million Icelandic kroner ($3.4 billion) in tourism revenue to the country last year.
In Cyprus, located in the eastern Mediterranean, tourism revenues shot up by 17% last year to almost 2.6 billion euros ($2.8 billion).
Tourists traveled to the island nation because they consider it relatively safe compared to other European destinations that have recently experienced several major terrorist attacks.
Tourism revenues in France, for example, fell by 7 per cent last year following a series of such attacks.