Mexico Travel: tourism officials want more Canadian visitors
Canada sent nearly 1.6 million visitors to Mexico last year. But that’s not nearly enough to satisfy the country’s tourism folks.
Rodolfo Lopez-Negrete, COO of the Mexico Tourism Board, told me in a recent telephone conversation that in the month of May, there was a 1.5 per cent increase in the number of Canadians.
“Canada is our second largest market, but I’m not happy with the level of growth,” Lopez-Negrete said. “We should be up anywhere from five to six per cent given the strength of the Canadian economy and given that Canada has now surpassed the U.S. as a richer country based on an individual basis. Canadians travel all over the world and I think we should be able to increase the numbers.
“We’re not unhappy with our Canadian numbers,” he said. We’ve done a great job. Thirty five years ago we had just 650,000 Canadian visitors and now it’s 1.6 million and growing. But it should be more.”
That means building stronger connections in the Canadian marketplace, Lopez-Negrete told me. “We’ve been able to expand service in an aggressive manner with WestJet, Transat, Air Canada, Sunwing, and others. We need to continue in that direction and definitely inject more money and speak to consumers through the media more.”
Lopez-Negrete said a key job, of course, is to speak with the media about violence in Mexico; a continuing concern for some travelers.
“We have to keep setting the record straight about the perception of Mexico versus the reality of it being safe.”
There have been incidents, but Lopez-Negrete said they’re concentrated in areas most tourists don’t go.