Report: Focus on border security has cost U.S. tourism dollars

April 13, 2012

The United States is missing out on tremendous untapped potential among Mexican tourists. That’s one of the findings of a recent study conducted by the North American Center for Transborder Studies at Arizona State University. KJZZ’s Al Macias reports.

AL MACIAS: The report says the recession, lengthy visa application requirements and a focus on border security have cost the U.S. The study says there is a latent demand for travel to the U.S. by Mexicans. In 2010 Mexican tourists spent $8.7 billion in the United States. Erik Lee is one of the authors of the study. He says 85 percent of the 13.5 million legal Mexican tourists who entered the United States last year came through land entries.

ERIK LEE: The major beneficiaries of that cross border flow of tourists are cities like El Paso, Nogales, Tucson, San Diego. Obviously the closer to the border that a city is, the better to benefit from that tourism flow.

AL MACIAS: The study acknowledges the need for maintaining border security but says those efforts should not prevent law-abiding tourists from visiting the United States.

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