Some tourism businesses and local governments are joining forces to fill the vacuum left by the federal government’s closure of the Tourism Promotion Council (CPTM) last December.
Two airport operators, airlines Aeroméxico and Volaris, tequila maker José Cuervo and restaurant chain Hard Rock are among the companies that have stepped up to invest in tourism promotion.
In Los Cabos, one of Mexico’s biggest international tourism destinations, the companies and local government will create a trust fund to promote the destination in international markets, especially in California and Texas. Their initial goal is to raise US $50 million for the trust fund, which will be managed by tourism business groups.
In Quintana Roo, airlines and other businesses are working to promote tourism in the state, and to raise 600 million pesos (US $31.3 million) for international publicity.
President López Obrador decided to eliminate the CPTM shortly after he took office in December. He said that the council’s annual budget of 6 billion pesos would be used for the construction of the Maya Train.
The disappearance of the CPTM came at a time when tourism was already decelerating in Mexico due to a variety of factors, including sargassum, insecurity and travel warnings issued by the U.S. government, which a study by the Bank of México says prevented 335,000 potential visitors from coming to Mexico.
An international tourism organization says the cuts to publicity have not been a major factor in the slowdown of visitors, but have deterred investment.
However, the downward trend has continued since the CPTM was shut down. In the first five months of 2019, hotel occupancy was 1.5% lower than in the same period of 2018. And some destinations have been hit even harder: hotel occupancy in Guadalajara was down 4%, in Los Cabos 4.2% and in Quintana Roo 5.3%.