26 November 2007

URO: Tourism Down in Oaxaca

I regularly reveal my ignorance of the Spanish language when I work from Spanish-only sources, so take this with a grain of salt. I may have to publish a correction before the day is up.

If I read this correctly, overall tourism earnings are down in Oaxaca by 23% from last year, but the overall number of visitors is up some 4% as a result of governmental initiatives within Mexico to lure visitors back to the state. Additionally, according to the article, 95% of visitors in 2007 were Mexican and only 5% foreigners. The government claims an estimated 4,285,406 visitors to Oaxaca in the past year but gives no indication how that tally is counted.

These numbers come from the government itself, so I remain skeptical that the tourism industry overall is only down by 23%. Float that number among hotel and restaurant owners and see whether their profits are only down 23% compared to 2005.

Here's the thing, though. Forget for a moment the government numbers and how they are made. The real question, in my mind, is not about tourism in 2007 compared to tourism in 2006, but to pre-conflict tourism. In other words, what does the state say annual tourism earnings looked like from, say, 1995 - 2005? Now contrast with 2007 and let's see the real difference in Oaxaca's economic health.