Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard bemoaned yesterday that narco-related television series are portraying a negative image of Mexico abroad.
“Today the image of Mexico that is seen in almost the whole world is from narco series or similar [shows],” Ebrard told attendees at the launch of a new tourism promotion body.
“I tell you this because prime ministers, high-ranking officials and representatives from the whole world have spoken to me about it and that [image] doesn’t do us justice,” he said.
Several television series based on the true stories of Mexican drug cartels have been made in recent years including Narcos México and El Chapo, both of which screen on the Netflix streaming service and have been popular with international audiences.
The foreign affairs secretary said that officials in his department and the Secretariat of Tourism as well as members of the newly-created Tourism Diplomacy Council need to work together to develop a strategy to better promote the positive aspects of Mexico.
“The ambition we have is to change the image and to lift Mexico’s standing but to do it we have to reach an agreement and think of a diplomacy [strategy] in all fields. We’re going to have to do a lot [of work] on social media and also on [television] series. Mexico has to promote other scripts . . .” Ebrard said.
The secretary said that the tourism council will ultimately be responsible for approving a new plan to promote Mexico abroad.
The council is made up of 28 members, most of whom are tourism sector representatives and business people. The secretariats of Foreign Affairs and Tourism will work closely with the new body, whose members must meet within 60 days to set its organizational structure and agenda.
Ignacio Cabrera, general director of the council and a foreign affairs official, said the organization will plan, design and implement international tourism promotion strategies.
He said the council will seek funding in the 2020 budget but added that the private sector will also contribute resources.
The creation of the new body comes after the official dissolution of the Tourism Promotion Council (CPTM) last month.
The disbanded marketing agency had an annual budget of approximately 6 billion pesos (US $316 million), funding that the government announced would be allocated instead to the construction of the Maya Train.
The decision to eliminate the CPTM was widely criticized by the tourism industry, whose representatives warned that a lack of international marketing will result in fewer visitors.
Pablo Azcárraga, president of the National Tourism Business Council and a member of the new promotion council, said in April that the Mexican tourism industry is in crisis due to insufficient marketing and insecurity.