Sonora Sees Uptick In 'Paisanos' This Season
Every December, hundreds of thousands of Mexican nationals living in the United States head south of the border for the winter to visit family. The Mexican state of Sonora is seeing an uptick of these visitors this year.
The increase in December travelers known as “paisanos” mainly stems from a strong U.S. economy and the 20 to 1 exchange rate of pesos to the dollar, said Juan Pedro Venegas Burke, president of the Sonoran Association for Hotels and Motels.
He said the uptick also comes after a two-year dip in the number of visitors since the election of President Donald Trump. And he thinks the increase in travelers coming through Sonora this year is being driven, in part, by excitement over Mexico’s recent elections.
“The government change in our country has woken up, in some way, the interest of people to come back and sea how we're doing here in Mexico," he said.
With numbers back up, he said, Sonora is benefiting from southbound traffic staying in hotels, eating at restaurants and buying gas at the pumps.
Most paisanos are coming from Arizona or California, but they also come from all over the western United States, he said.