In a Public Media Video, Arizona Week 12-20-2013, host Lorraine Rivera says that a study conducted by two University of Arizona professor claims that Mexican nationals who come to Arizona to shop spend one billion dollars every year in the State of Arizona. Lorraine Rivera goes on to interview Felipe Garcia, the Executive Vice President from Visit Tucson regarding the economic impact that Mexican shoppers have on Arizona.
Mr. Garcia explains that, without these shoppers from Mexico, Arizonans would be faced with higher tax bills. He states that approximately five percent of taxable sales are purchased by shoppers from Mexico. According to Mr. Garcia, Mexico and China have an “undeclared trade war” which affects the prices of products in Mexico, from clothes to electronics. It is actually cheaper for these consumers to travel to Arizona to shop than to purchase the same items in Mexico. There are also more options for these same items in Arizona than at the stores in Mexico.
The tourism industry in Mexico is aware of the situation and now tour buses will bring shoppers from Mexico into the United States to shop. Shoppers will travel all night, meet in Hermosillo, and get to Tucson early in the morning. People will spend the entire day in Tucson shopping, and not leave until 9 o’clock at night. During their time in Arizona, they are also spending money at restaurants as well, thereby increasing the cash flow into Arizona.
The City of Hermosillo, in Mexico, has begun advertising in Sinaloa, further south in Mexico, targeting those shoppers who like to come to Tucson. They are promoting hotels and other places to stay in Hermosillo, for tired shoppers to stay on their way home. Mr. Garcia says that Visit Tucson supports the efforts of Hermosillo because both cities mutually benefit from these cross-border shoppers.
It is not cheap for Mexicans to shop in Tucson or elsewhere in Arizona. They are required to obtain a Visa, which costs approximately $130. Then, if the shoppers want to go further into the State, like Phoenix, for example, they are required to acquire an additional permit, for the price of $6.00. Each shopper is allowed to legally bring goods worth $500 back into Mexico without having to pay any taxes.
Sonora, Mexico has been experiencing a positive economic development with different Aerospace companies opening plants there. Mr. Garcia says he is happy to see this economic growth because that means that those workers have the money to spend shopping in Tucson.
Ms. Rivera also interviews the marketing manager of Tucson Mall and Park Place Mall in Tucson, Ms. Brighid Brown. Ms. Brown says that approximately thirty-five percent of their vehicle traffic at the malls is from Mexico. She welcomes these shoppers and most stores offer free wifi so customers feel comfortable sitting down and taking a break while shopping in the malls.
Manuel Hopkins, Director of Economic Development in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico also believes that the economic growth in Mexico at the present time is good for both Sonora and Mexico. When people have good job opportunities, they have the money to spend on all sorts of goods in both the United States and Mexico. Mr. Hopkins is hoping that Americans realize that Nogales was recognized as the safest larger city in Sonora, Mexico. The crime rate is down and he is hoping to see more tourists come explore their city.
Overall, people crossing the border from Mexico into the United States to shop is seen as a positive occurrence in the State of Arizona. Arizona welcomes their money and contribution to its economy.