A long-awaited agreement between the two countries goes into effect Sunday. 

By Talia Avakian
Updated: March 13, 2017
Ullstein Bild/Getty Images

A crucial air transport agreement between the United States and Mexico, which was signed last year, goes into effect on Sunday.

The agreement will open new opportunities for traveling to and from the two countries, as it opens up the ability for an unlimited number of airlines to operate routes between cities.

Only two to three airlines were previously allowed to serve each city pair, keeping options quite limited, according to Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs Thomas Engle at the U.S. Department of State.

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As the new agreement goes into effect, several airlines are looking to enter and expand in the market, which Engle told Travel + Leisure could include major U.S. carriers like Southwest Airlines and JetBlue, as well as low-cost carriers from Mexico.

Engle said this will not only give passengers more options, but could also help keep prices down as airlines start seeing more competition in the markets.

“Mexico is one of the biggest sources of inbound tourism for America,” Engle said.

According to Engle, preliminary data from the Department of Commerce indicates that the United States saw more than 18 million tourists from Mexico last year, who spent a total of about $19 billion while visiting.

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Besides opening up new travel opportunities, the agreement will also allow for increased trade and economic benefits between the two countries.

Talia Avakian is a digital reporter at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @TaliaAvak.