Tourism is a highly resistant sector of the global economy, and nowhere is this more evident than in Mexico. Despite some hard-hitting headlines exposing corruption and the country’s long struggle against drug cartel-related violence, the number of travellers choosing to take their holidays there beat records last year, with 19.3m international tourism arrivals in the period January-August.
Sadly, too often the rest of the world only associates Mexico with instability and violence, and yet the tourism figures tell a different story. Travellers, especially from the US and Canada who are more familiar with the country and take regular visits are more able to put the risks into perspective, know where to go and what Mexico really has to offer.
Putting Mexico’s tourism into perspective is what Toposophy’s latest report Mexican Tourism Uncovered does and the results will give a lot of food for thought, especially if you’re doing business with Mexico. I’m proud to have worked on this report with my Toposophy colleagues, and unveiling what’s really going on in Latin America’s second biggest economy has been an exciting learning experience.
The report, published earlier this month identifies a whole range of issues that Mexican authorities and the business community will need to address if the country is to benefit fully from the recovery of the US economy, continued growth in outbound travel from the emerging markets, from attracting new types of consumer (not least Millennial travellers) in the 21st century. This is essential because, as the report states:
“Millennials question the way things are done and are rapidly changing the world as we know it. For the tourism and hospitality industry, their self-assurance has brought with it a storm of new consumer expectations creating a system in which successful destinations and businesses will be those which explore and respond positively to the broad spectrum of economic, societal and environmental changes that are taking place, especially those driven by the Millennial generation”.
Helping Millennials beyond Mexico’s traditional source markets of the US and Canada to understand what visiting Mexico would really be like is a seriously pressing issue. The reality of travelling around Mexico and where the richest parts of its cultural heritage are to be found is still relatively unfamiliar to audiences outside of North America. Being honest and transparent about the country’s image should pay dividends with a younger, more fearless generation looking to explore ‘off the beaten track’ and meet the locals.
On that subject, local authorities and businesses will have to work hard together (something which, to date, can only be found in a handful of destinations) if they are to properly understand who is visiting and what they are really looking for from their vacation experience. For too long, resorts have focussed on attracting the same visitors year after year, while ignoring the major opportunities that are opening up in emerging markets, and the fact that travellers’ tastes have changed. Getting up to speed with digital technologies and boosting business tourism are just two extra areas for Mexico’s tourism industry to focus on in the coming years. To find out what can be done to orientate Mexico’s tourism towards 21st century travellers, download the report today.