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Puerto Vallarta Puerto Vallarta: half of hotel beds are located in just eight Mexican cities.

Mexican tourism: it’s time for a new focus

OECD says tourism's growth has not kept up with the global economy

Strong visitor numbers have launched Mexico back into the top 10 tourist destinations in the world but growth of the country’s tourism sector has not been what it should in the view of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

With that in mind, the OECD has recommended the development of a new strategic focus.

During the past decade, the rate of growth of tourism in Mexico has fallen short of the overall growth in the world economy, explained OECD secretary general José Ángel Gurría yesterday during the presentation of the organization’s Review of Tourism Policy in Mexico.

“The fact is that tourism and travel have encountered various difficulties including economic problems in countries that are significant sources of visitors to Mexico, natural disasters linked to climate change, public health warnings and insecurity in several regions of the country.”

The secretary general observed that tourism in Mexico is also facing structural challenges, as the sector’s success has been based on the development of large resorts in major coastal destinations.

“Half of all hotel beds in Mexico are in resorts in just eight cities, concentrating the effects of tourism in a handful of geographical locations. However, this model is becoming vulnerable to changing demand patterns and environmental concerns,” he said.

“The Mexican tourism model must change in order to be able to compete in a changing tourism market and to support more inclusive, sustainable growth. This would require that government agencies develop better links with a more diverse, segmented group of small enterprises and micro-businesses, as well as policies to support smaller-scale projects.”

Gurría continued by stating that Mexico must increase the harmonization of transportation and tourism policies from point of origin to point of destination, invest in an integrated national transportation system with a competitive infrastructure serving new destinations and press on with work to liberalize aviation agreements.

To improve support for micro, small and medium-sized businesses and enterprises, it is important to encourage innovation in the available tourist products and services by focusing on investment and funding, he added.

Gurría pointed out that better tourism policies in Mexico will directly benefit the Mexican people.

The federal Tourism Secretary reported that during the last four years the number of international tourists has increased by 50%. The tourism industry now generates 8.7% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.

“Tourism is going through its best moments but now we must reflect on what needs to be done to strengthen it,” said Enrique de la Madrid.

The secretary added that 35 million visitors arrived by plane from abroad last year, an increase of close to 12%, while total tourism revenues reached US $19 billion.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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