WTM LONDON 2016 – LONDON – REPORT: The Mexico Tourism Board announced its strategic marketing plans to deliver high growth in the UK market. Its efforts will focus on expanding connectivity; strengthening industry partnerships; developing tourism products and destinations; increasing special promotions, and consumer-targeting programmes.
The UK is the third largest market for Mexico’s tourism industry, with over 475,000 visitors in 2015, marking a 10.4 percent increase on 2014. In the first nine months of 2016, there has been a 9.2 percent increase over the same period last year, firmly establishing it as a favourite destination with the British holiday maker. Not only is tourism growing from the UK, but Mexico’s overall tourism industry is growing faster than the global average. While the global industry grew at 4 percent as of June 2016, according to the World Tourism Organization, Mexico grew at a massive 8.4 percent.
“Over the course of the past two years, we have achieved tremendous success in the UK fueled by initiatives including the Dual Year and release of the latest James Bond blockbuster, Spectre, which saw its widely acclaimed opening scenes filmed in Mexico City”, commented Lourdes Berho, CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board.
The Mexico Tourism Board is aiming to continue this growing success and have set a goal of 830,000 UK visitors by 2021. In order to achieve this ambitious aim, a multi-faceted tourism development and promotion plan was unveiled this week during World Travel Market.
Expanding Connectivity between the UK and Mexico
A key focus is driving and strengthening air connectivity through expanding existing partnerships and targeting new gateway destinations. As of today, there are between 120 and 199 direct flights per month from airports across the UK to Mexico City, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. Airlines include British Airways, Aeromexico, Thomas Cook, Virgin Atlantic and Thomson. Increased frequency as well as new routes to popular Mexican destinations on the pacific coast are planned.
In addition to the connectivity, air traveler experience also continues to improve. For example, the recently launched Aeromexico 787-9 named Quetzalcoatl (Feathered Serpent) is the most advance aircraft equipped with the latest cutting-edge technology which reduced the carbon footprint by an unprecedented 20 percent. From design, style and comfort, no small detail is overlooked including a business class menu designed by world-renowned Mexican chef Enrique Olvera, whose Mexico City restaurant Pujol is ranked #5 in the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurant awards.
Diverse Tourism Products and Destinations
Mexico prides itself on its bio-diversity and 2017 is predicted to see an increase in demand for tourism in this area. Mexico is world renowned for its beautiful beaches as well as rich natural and cultural history, including more than 34 UNESCO World Heritage sites. The upcoming COP13 conference to be held in December will take place in Cancun to discuss the conservation and promotion of biodiversity. For example, UK tourists will be able to visit the country’s impressive diving sites on both the Pacific and Gulf coasts, experience expansive nature reserves, watch rare birds and whales in their natural habitats, and much more.
Expanded products and promotion campaigns are also planned in the luxury, golf, weddings and romance, diving, nature, and MICE sectors. In each of these areas, partnerships with key destinations as well as UK travel operators will bring an ever-expanded portfolio of options to UK travelers of all types.
From attending unique wedding experiences featuring traditional Mayan ceremonies or underwater weddings, to attending the only PGA tour golf tournament held outside the U.S., OHL Classic at Mayakoba; UK travelers are going to discover new reasons to visit Mexico, again and again.
A Stage for Global Events
Last year, Mexico saw the highly anticipated return of F1 to Mexico City. November 2016 sees Mexico host its first regular season NFL game. Together with countless other high profile global sporting events in golf, tennis, marathon and triathlons, and more, Mexico has strengthened its position as a global destination for high profile events.
Just 10 days ago, a global campaign promoting Mexico’s Day of the Dead (1-2 November) tradition was unveiled, the highlight was a parade through Mexico City featuring costumes and floats originally created for the 007 SPECTRE James Bond film, released in 2015. The parade and three-day Day of the Dead festivities were attended by hundreds of thousands of visitors and has cemented this cultural tradition, recognized by UNESCO, as one of the world’s premier annual events. These celebrations are expected to continue in popularity in the coming years in the UK.
Mexico also hosts its own international film festivals – the 2016 Morelia Film Festival was attended by A-list stars including Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Quentin Tarantino, Tommy Lee Jones and Salma Hayek, amongst others.
One of the UK’s Favourite Cuisines
Mexican gastronomy has established a strong hold in the hearts of British foodies, through its rich traditions and dozens of the UK’s favourite ingredients that originate from Mexico including chocolate, avocado, chile, and tomatoes to name a few.
There were three Mexican restaurants recognised in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016 list – Quintonil (no 12), Pujol (no 25), and Biko (no 43), establishing Mexican gastronomy as one of the world’s – and UK’s – most popular cuisines in recent years. The top crop of Mexican chefs are now also heading to the UK to share their interpretations of modern Mexican gastronomy, with Martha Ortiz (Dulce Patria) announcing her plans to open a restaurant in London in early 2017.
Mexican cuisine has been showcased in the UK and all across Europe during the last year, being featured in Selfridges, Eataly Milan and KaDeWe Berlin.