Integrate Tourism Industry for Greater GrowthWed, 11/01/2017 - 11:49
Q: What can be done to boost tourism investment in Mexico?
A: To drive investment, it is necessary to establish an attractive institutional framework on issues such as regulation, security, environment and fiscal policy. We need investments in basic infrastructure from the public and private sectors, as well as a destination-promotion policy to ensure a permanent flow of investment by lodging, transportation and entertainment companies. Creating added value in the tourism experience, such as food, guided tours, cultural and sports activities or theme parks, can boost investment. Today, travelers want indepth knowledge about their destinations. They do not want to just spend time inside a hotel. We must take advantage of this trend.
Q: What are the main challenges facing the development of the tourism industry in Mexico?
A: The tourism industry in Mexico is so large and diverse that the challenges are different depending on location. However, the main one is to stay attractive in a changing world and amid an increasing number of competitors. To achieve this, we need an innovative attitude when meeting tourist needs, infrastructure that allows us to receive tourists who have demanding and diverse objectives, and more destinations to provide further options and generate benefits for more Mexicans. All these elements will help build a robust and successful tourism sector.
Q: What efforts have been made in infrastructure to boost the sector’s growth?
A: SECTUR has a budget allocated to meeting the specific needs of tourist destinations. Through this program, local authorities contribute a proportional amount. These budgets are determined by Congress through the federal budget but the infrastructure investment the tourism sector requires is greater, so the sector benefits from investments by other entities. For example, SCT’s investments help increase connectivity, reducing transfer times and mobility costs. NAICM has no budget from SECTUR but there is no doubt this project will boost the industry. The private sector also invests in infrastructure through projects such as marinas, cruise line piers, convention centers, sports venues and malls, among other projects.
Q: How can the tourism industry improve the social development of communities in Mexico?
A: Through the development of the tourism industry we can bring growth and wealth to more communities in Mexico, as tourism impacts a community through employment, infrastructure development, provision of basic services and environmental protection. President Peña Nieto’s vision is to strengthen tourism to create economic growth and to generate development opportunities for the Mexican population. He believes tourism contributes to the creation and growth of the middle class in regions with tourism potential. However, the community must be involved. This is the objective of the Programa Conéctate al Turismo (Connect to Tourism Program), which helps SMEs connect with players in the industry to become service providers.
Q: The country has a significant number of cities with tourism potential that have not yet been developed. What strategies are being implemented to develop these future tourist sites?
A: It is very important for each destination to identify its strengths, its main attractions and how to create a product that is commercially attractive to tourists. That is why Baja California’s wine region, the tequila district in Jalisco and the henequen plantation route in Yucatan have developed so well. The creation of thematic routes was the key growth path for those destinations. This is the idea behind the Mayan route in the southeast, the circuit of colonial cities in the center of the country and the independence route in the Bajio region. Branding also helps increase tourism in locations that have particular kinds of attractions, such as Pueblos Mágicos.