Mexico’s next tourism secretary has pledged that promotion of the country’s tourist destinations will continue under the new administration amid concerns in the private sector that money currently allocated to marketing will be redirected to the Maya train project.
“I know that there is nervousness about [tourism] promotion,” Miguel Torruco Marqués told the newspaper Milenio.
“Yes, there will be [promotion], don’t worry. I’m the first to insist that promotion is essential to stay competitive in the international arena,” he added.
President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador has said that construction of the Maya train project, which will link cities including Cancún, Mérida, Campeche and Palenque, will be partially funded by the DNR tourist tax that foreigners pay when entering Mexico.
Some of the money collected is currently used for tourism promotion.
According to the Mexico Tourism Board (CPTM), which receives the funds, the DNR tax generates revenue of between 4.5 and 5 billion pesos (US $236.9 million and $263.2 million) annually.
Torruco stressed, however, that the money for tourism promotion would be freed up through cuts to bureaucracy that the incoming government intends to make
“Promotion will continue, we’re analyzing how we’re going to trim down the apparatuses of government, which are very obese . . .” he said.
The future secretary said there will be no deputy directors of government departments during the incoming administration because of duplication of activities, and that staff cuts will extend to the Secretariat of Tourism (Sectur), the CPTM and the National Tourism Promotion Fund (Fonatur).
But he also said that to ensure that Mexico’s tourism industry remains strong it is essential to launch large-scale tourism campaigns and attend tourism fairs around the world.
While recognizing the need to spend money to attract foreign tourists, Torruco said that Sectur’s expenditure of US $45 million on the Cirque du Soleil production Luzia, A Waking Dream of Mexico was a “bad investment” because it hasn’t led to an increase in visitor numbers.
The show, which opened in Canada in May 2016, is a homage to Mexico’s history, culture and traditions and one of its objectives was to inspire people to visit.
Mexico is the sixth most visited country in the world, Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid said in June, explaining that the upsurge in violent crime had not had an impact on visitor numbers.
Almost 40 million foreign tourists came to Mexico last year, spending just over US $21.3 billion while they were in the country.
Source: Milenio (sp)