Unlike other sectors, the tourism industry maintains a strong optimistic outlook for the rest of the year and predicts that in 2016 it will show even greater growth in the industry that has been one of the principal drivers of the national economy and is a national priority for the first time.
Hotel and travel agency leaders said that public tourism policies are lining up little by little evidenced by the fact that Mexico went from 44th to 30th place in the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index, the country’s best ranking since 2007.
Mexican Association of Hotels and Motels (AMHM) President Rafael García González said in an interview with Mexican Media Corporation CAPTIAL MEDIA that the sector’s optimism is well-founded due to the 10 percent increase in foreign visitors in 2014. Mexican vacationers are also opting to travel domestically because of this year’s drastic increase in the value of the U.S. dollar.
“I see that the (former) Tourism Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu travels all the time with President Enrique Peña Nieto which has been done with the guiding principle of promoting the (tourism) sector and the economy. More agreements are being made with other nations such as England and others are forthcoming with Germany and China. These cultural exchanges have provided strong momentum,” he said.
In addition, the promotional campaign “Viva para creerlo” (Live it to believe it) is well positioned at an international level and has been well executed. The proof is in the results, which are significant and exceed expectations, García González said.
The hotel industry hopes to close 2015 with a 5 percent growth in the number of visitors and room occu- pation increasing from 60 to 65 percent, said García González.
García González said that there are “well identified” and isolated hubs of insecurity and security concerns decreased tourism activity. However, he believes that this will improve in the affected states because safety is fundamental for travel.
García González, proprietor of the Robles hotels mainly located in the Centro Histórico and the Zona Rosa, said that there are very positive figures of hotel room occupation and trusts that the recovery will continue to 10 percent increased development.
Ana Patricia de la Peña Sánchez, president of the Mexican Association of Tourism Development (Amdetur) which groups 90 percent of the developers and investors in the Mexican vacation property sector, said that “to advance to the global ranking of 30th place in tourism, it is necessary to generate cutting edge technology, services, infrastructure and to reinvent ourselves like products, otherwise the sector will continue stagnant.”
The tourism industry generates 16.6 percent growth, but more could be done to increase growth and create more efficiency. It is necessary to align the public policies of all the nations secretariats “so that they don’t step on each others feet.” Joint work will trigger even more growth in the sector, de la Peña said.
“Of course this six-year term has generated impressive strategies. Because of this and team work with developers and with the private sector, we have arrived at 16 percent growth,” she said.
Tourism promotion campaigns such as “Live it to believe it” and the national “Pueblos Mágicos” program, in addition to alliance strategies that have created more air routes have brought more travelers to Mexico. Cancun alone grew 15 percent, she said.
The worst thing that could happen to the sector is if promotion and infrastructure resources are reduced for the sake of projected budget cuts in 2016. These measures boost connectivity which is essential in the tourism industry, she said.
De la Peña, who is also the proprietor of several hotels mainly in Quintana Roo, said that her goals are to propel tourism growth in the country and establish a consultation organism for federal, state and municipal authorities. Thus far, the industry has been favored by public policies undertaken by the current administration.
The tourism industry cannot remain where it is but must move forward. The industry has all the necessary alternatives to achieve progress. The association leader has established an objective to promote the development of innovative destinations which is strengthened with cutting-edge technology infrastructure. This guarantees sustainable development in the tourism area, is accessible to everyone, facilitates the interaction and integration of visitors with the environment and increases the quality of their experience in their destination, she said.
The tourism industry rebounded in 2009 and has managed to achieve double digit growth in foreign currency and international tourism among other indicators in 2014, it continues moving forward, de la Peña said.
By Rosalva Amezcua for The News.MX