Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson is headed to Mexico Monday for his first international trip as mayor.
Johnson is headed to Mexico City and Monterrey, which has a sister city relationship with Dallas, to promote the city and restore ties interrupted during the pandemic.
The mayor said international affairs are vital to the city's economic competitiveness going forward.
"As an international city that drives the nation's fourth-largest metropolitan area, it is important for us to stand up on the world stage," Mayor Johnson said. "This trip comes at the right time. After enduring two difficult years of the pandemic, Dallas is back - and we want the world to know it. I am thrilled for the opportunity to visit the great cities of Mexico City and Monterrey. And I am confident that our time in both cities will help our city build new relationships and strengthen long-standing ties."
City officials said in a statement the trip was proposed last year when the city hosted Roberto Velasco Álvarez, Chief Officer for the North America Unit at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Velasco visited Dallas City Hall accompanied by Francisco de la Torre, Consul General of Mexico in Dallas.
De la Torre invited Johnson to visit Mexico and helped plan his itinerary. He will accompany him on the trip to Mexico.
"I am thrilled that Mayor Johnson's first official international trip is to Mexico visiting Mexico City and Monterrey - two of Dallas' top trading partners," said de la Torre. "This trip is especially important because of the Sister City relationship between Monterrey and Dallas.
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In a statement, De la Torre said 35% of all the Mexican investments in the U.S. are headquartered in the Dallas metro area, "and the contribution of the Mexican community has been very important to the growth of this region economically and culturally."
The city said that prior to the coronavirus pandemic Mexican visitors spent almost $460 million in Dallas in 2019, according to VisitDallas. That accounted for 44% of international visitor spending in Dallas that year. And as tourism from Mexico to Dallas dramatically increased between 2014 and 2019, spending from Mexican visitors increased by 40%.
And in 2021, trade between the Dallas region and Mexico totaled nearly $1.5 billion, according to the Dallas Regional Chamber.
Johnson is scheduled to leave for Mexico Monday night and will return to Texas on Thursday. Later this year Johnson also plans to visit Dijon, France, another sister city to Dallas.