Monday, March 4, 2024

With a shaky start, Ministry of Tourism relaunches Visit México portal

After two embarrassing problems in recent weeks, the Visit México tourism website was officially relaunched on Tuesday by Tourism Minister Miguel Torruco.

However, the new beginning didn’t go as smoothly as he and other officials might have hoped: at the time the new site was being presented, it had not yet gone live.

But by Wednesday afternoon the Visit México portal was live, accessible and — apparently — error-free.

Torruco told a virtual press conference that the new website will feature the latest and best technology and that companies such as Google, Discovery Channel, Mastercard, Ford and Aeroméxico as well as the New York Yankees will partner with it via sponsorship deals.

The government won’t pay anything for its operation and upkeep, he said.

In its current incarnation, Visit México includes information about a range of tourism routes and has sections promoting each of Mexico’s 32 states, the country’s best beaches, archaeological sites, adventure and ecotourism and magical towns.

Torruco said that the site won’t function as an online travel agency where reservations can be made but rather as a “nerve center” that connects potential visitors to tourism operators and travel agencies in Mexico.

Among the businesses and people that will benefit from the new site, the tourism minister said, are restaurants, hotels, tour guides and travel agencies.

Torruco asserted that the new portal will allow tourism promotion to reach new audiences and open new markets.

“We want the new era of tourism to be for everyone,” he said, adding that the large number of small tourism-oriented businesses that don’t have currently have a digital presence will be provided with assistance to move online, and onto the Visit México site.

“We’re digitalizing the sector and democratizing tourism. … This new platform … is for everyone that wants to join the transformation of our thriving industry,” Torruco said, apparently referring to pre-pandemic times.

Tourism Minister Torruco speaks at Tuesday's relaunching.
Tourism Minister Torruco speaks at Tuesday’s relaunching.

“We’re taking a firm step in our digital strategy, doing more with less but with a global vision.”

Visit México president Marcos Achar said that 70 million pesos (US $3.2 million) has been invested in the site to date and that great efforts have been made to create the world-class tourism platform the country deserves.

Carlos González, the site’s general director, said that Visit México is protected by cutting-edge technology that will guarantee that it isn’t taken down or tampered with by hackers. The site is “capable of repelling all attacks,” he said.

The relaunch of Visit México came a month after it was taken down, allegedly for lack of payment to the website host.

However, the company that has been in charge of managing the site’s content since 2019, Braintivity, claimed the page had been hacked.

The website was back online by early August but its English language content contained several errors that appeared to have been machine translated or intentionally changed. As a result, the names of numerous destinations were rendered as literal (and in some cases, inexplicable) translations.

Guerrero became Warrior, Hidalgo was translated as Noble and Tulum, the Caribbean coast beach town, was suddenly called Jumpsuit. The site was shut down after several media reports lambasted the government and site operator for the mistranslations.

Torruco said August 10 that a criminal complaint had been lodged against whoever was responsible for the suspension of the site and subsequent changes to the English-language translations of some destinations.

He said a month earlier that the site, previously relaunched in 2019 with private sector money, would end up being regarded as an important achievement and special legacy of the current federal government.

But just a day after Visit México’s second relaunch in as many years, it remains to be seen whether those epithets will be applied to the website in years to come.

Source: Milenio (sp), El Financiero (sp), Reportur (sp) 

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