Impact following the Mexican Government’s decision to dissolve the Mexican Tourism Board has been widespread across all tourism sectors. A March Travel Weekly article stated; “The new president’s administration planned to close all but four offices and had transferred the promotional agency’s $300 million budget to construction of a rail line linking tourist destinations and villages across the Yucatan Peninsula.”
In the DMC sector, operators are scrambling to increase marketing and sales budgets to remain in market and visible during this crucial time. A Q&A with Susanne Prenzel, Director of Sales & Marketing for our Mexico DMC Partner, EPIC DMC, reveals a first-hand account of the state of things in Mexico.
Since the Mexican government has essentially stopped supporting meetings and incentive activities, how will this affect you as a DMC?
As a small business owner in Mexico, we have been adversely affected, along with many of our local tourism partners. Especially in regard to trade show participation like IMEX, where the Mexican Tourism Bureau booth housed 80+ suppliers and participation fees were supplemented by the government. Many companies will now have to limit their participation in trade events globally. In addition, the Mexican Tourism Bureau had equitably managed annual familiarization trips and we worked closely with them to bring potential clients to Mexico. We remain committed to building familiarization experiences and will continue to do so with a host of local partners as a team effort.
What changes, if any, will the buyer see when sourcing Mexico?
As a DMC we provide full-service solutions, however, many meeting & event planners relied on the local Mexico Tourism offices to source information. This “resource” is no longer available. The biggest change will be a reduction in sponsored in-market activities like receptions, educational seminars or similar events that were organized by the Mexican Tourism Bureau. This may diminish the presence of Mexico at a time when it is needed most. Whilst Mexico is currently ranked the 6th most visited country in the world, according to the World Tourism Organization, and the second most visited country in the Americas behind the U.S., we realize this can change very quickly.
When attending trade events, buyers may no longer see a “unified” Mexico. We are currently in discussions with local tourism bodies representing Mexico’s states to create alliances to fill the gap. We also plan to maintain our presence and work with our local representatives like CSI International to be front and center at industry events.
What would you like the meetings and corporate travel buyer to know about Mexico?
In short, whilst there may be changes to the visual presence of Mexico, the country remains a popular and safe destination, as well as excellent value. There are many new high-end hotel openings this year and international chains continue to invest in the country. Both United Airlines and American Airlines added flights in 2019, along with low cost carriers.
Many of our tourism partners and competitors here in Mexico have been in the industry for decades. Because of these changes, we have become more connected and dependent on each other to work more closely than ever. This team approach will have a positive effect on the buyer and streamline the process. We are committed to servicing our clients and promoting our beautiful country.