Visa-free travel has been Canada’s calling card in Mexico ever since the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect and been the foundation of successful promotional campaigns that have made Canada one of the preferred destinations for Mexican travellers and students.
That incentive ended on July 13, when Canada announced new visa requirements.
Roughly 261,000 Mexican tourists visited Canada last year, according to Canadian tourism officials.
Long lines for visas show just how significant Mexican interest in Canada is, says Mexico City-based immigration consultant David Mendez, whose business sends students to study in foreign countries, including Canada.
He says that only the United States and Spain are more popular as destinations than Canada for Mexicans.
He predicted that over the long term, the new rules would be felt more in Canada, where an industry has mushroomed to serve Mexican students, than in Mexico.
“Thousands of jobs in Canada depend on Mexican students,” he said.