On both sides of the Arizona/Mexico border, we all share a deep love for the grandeur and glory of the Southwest.
We beam with pride at our rich, shared heritage.
We stand together in our desire to protect our unique combination of Sonoran Desert, lush highlands and sandy blue beaches.
We all end our days marveling at the same majestic sunsets.
This makes us all – in fact – part of a very special family that has been deeply rooted on both sides of the border for hundreds of years.
Americans and Mexicans have crossed the border for years, as if they were visiting their next-door neighbor. Whether to visit family and friends, for business or shopping, or for a family vacation, this cross-border relationship has directly and indirectly had a positive impact on both sides of the border.
Whether for travel, business, or the everyday needs of the people who live in the border region, those travels constitute 24 million crossings per year. I have seen firsthand over the years how important they have become to Arizona’s economy.
My cousin is a great example. When she visits from Monterrey, Mexico, she doesn’t simply come to visit me. While she is here this winter, she has plans for family time, a concert, shopping, dining and a variety of other activities.
And she isn’t alone.
Family, business, cultural, educational ties and long-time friendships are what will continue to drive the Arizona-Mexico relationship, helping both sides of the border enhance tourism, create jobs and develop new opportunities for years to come.
While in Arizona, Mexicans – long known as some of the best sports fans in the world – take the time to watch one or more of Arizona’s major professional sports teams in person — including the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Coyotes, and Arizona Cardinals. And, knowing Mexican aficionados’ passion for baseball, the Arizona Diamondbacks games are filled with Mexican fans cheering for their favorite team.
During my visits to the mall with my visiting relatives, I am thrilled to see so many Mexican shoppers, not only during the holiday season but throughout the year. It is also gratifying to see how many take advantage of our world class medical care and conduct business while they are here on their shopping excursions, most often at Arizona Mills Mall in Metro Phoenix or Tucson Mall and Park Place Mall in Tucson.
Arizona’s casinos have long been hot spots for entertaining our visiting friends from Mexico, and now add to that list our concert and major event venues such as University of Phoenix Stadium and US Airways Arena are filled with the Hispanic passion and vibe. In short, there is a wide array of offerings to fit everyone’s taste.
And, when traveling with families, most notable during Mexico’s long holidays and summer months, our outdoor and natural attractions such as Phoenix and Reid Park Zoos, the Colossal Cave in Tucson and one of the eight wonders of the world – the Grand Canyon – are popular for Mexican visitors and chosen as prime travel destinations.
As you can see, cross-border travel and trade are important to Arizona. With a mission of promoting a strong cooperative relationship with Mexico, the Arizona-Mexico Commission just celebrated 50 years of close cross-border collaboration and engagement.
Through partnerships like this, new opportunities will continue to arise, enriching trade, tourism and investment opportunities that will create jobs on both sides of the border, making our “family” more globally competitive each day.
We are already experiencing this investment; for example, over the past year, Arizona-based US Airways has dramatically increased direct service to Mexico from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and vice versa.
We can certainly all agree that trade, tourism and travel on both sides of the border are imperative to the economic success of the region.
If you haven’t visited Arizona lately, we welcome you. We think you’re going to like what you see in your Southwestern neighbor to the north.