Mexico urges tourists to live and believe

Mexico City … most visited destination

MEXICO City’s Tourism Minister, Miguel Torruco, shared the achievements, highlights and future plans of his home town at a press conference at this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London last month.

Since the arrival of the new administration in December 2012, tourism has been declared a priority with plans to welcome in excess of the 12.5 million tourists who travelled to Mexico City in 2012. Currently, the destination is already the most visited area in the country, attracting tourists with its four Unesco sites, 1,500 restaurants, and 175 museums. With food playing an important daily role in any traveller’s experience, it won’t hurt that traditional Mexican cuisine was also declared an ‘intangible cultural heritage’ by Unesco in 2010. Interestingly, almost half of the tourists who visited Mexico City in 2012 stayed in four and five-star hotels. Average spend per visitor was $827.

While the majority of visitors, 40 per cent, are from the US, 400,000 British tourists have arrived into Mexico City and this figure is expect to increase 10 per cent year on year. Focus on the British travel industry will continue as 93 per cent of these tourists stay in five-star hotels and spend more than €2,000 ($2,686) on average. Incidentally, 30 per cent use British Airways as their mode of transport. Latin America will also continue to be a key source market for visitors, especially Brazil as Brazilians don’t need a visa to enjoy Mexico City. Currently, 27 per cent of the total number of visitors is from Latin America and this has been increasing more than 18 per cent annually.

Torruco at the press conference during WTM

While there is already a significant amount to see and do, such as visiting The Historic Centre (the oldest part of the city), shopping at the Saint Juan Market or relaxing in Chapultepec Park, in order to continue growing tourism figures, future plans are relatively expansive. They will include the development of the city to include new attractions, new hotels and an enhanced infrastructure. Hotel development includes the opening of Le Meridien Mexico City and Comfort Inn Santa Fe taking the city bed availability up to almost 50,000 rooms.

With Mexico City amongst the top five cities in the world with the highest number of museums, guests will also enjoy the 228 cultural centres, 132 theatres, and 775 cinemas. Two new museums will also be added with Museum Jumex and Museum del Mar, the latter set to be the largest aquarium in Latin America.

Other major developments include the transformation of 16th Street into a pedestrian area and the extension of two new routes for ‘Turibus’ the destination’s sightseeing bus, currently used by 30 per cent of foreigners. The new routes have been designed to include Basílica de Guadalupe and Centenario Ejército Mexicano. Visitors will find it easy to get around and explore the destination thanks to brochures and marketing collateral now available in eight languages for the first time.

With so many developments, the tourism board has been active around the world showcasing their destination including participating in trade shows in Madrid, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and London as well as communicating to key business and travel partners at various roadshows in Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Toronto. At all such events, Mexico City’s international campaign was launched, with its tag line, ‘Live it to believe it’ positioning the destination as a must-visit for 2014 and beyond and with a testimonial by famed musician Ringo Star, it would seem Mexico City is set for an exciting future in the travel and tourism industry.

By Karen Osman