Mexico proposes 'unique access' to popular sites

By Gay Nagle Myers
While Mexico remains on track to meet or exceed its record visitor count of 22.7 million in 2011, tourism officials now are eyeing the luxury travel market as a means of increasing visitor spending and promoting Mexico’s lesser-known and undiscovered historical and cultural attractions.

“We have luxury resorts and travel experiences that cannot be found anywhere else,” said Rodolfo Lopez-Negrete, COO of the Mexico Tourism Board.

“Our luxury travelers know well our sun, sand and beach destinations,” he said. “We’ve promoted them well, and our travel partners are selling them well. Now the focus is to increase the luxury visitor spend by offering them unique access to what they have not yet experienced in our country,” he said.

Rodolfo Lopez-NegreteThe plan is in development stages at this point, as Mexico is in a transitional period with the recent election of Enrique Pena Nieto as president; he will take office in December.

As part of the strategy to increase the amount of revenue per visitor, some areas of historical sites, such as Chichen Itza, that cannot withstand high volumes of tourists could be visited by smaller numbers of people.

Lopez-Negrete termed it a “strategy of unique access. We will offer private, privileged access to museums and historical sites or customized tours to travelers willing to spend extra for opportunities not available to the general public.”

Sites are not yet determined, although the focus also includes showcasing Mexico’s adventure travel offerings as well as its lesser-known haciendas, rancheros and vineyards to “sophisticated special-interest travelers looking for unique travel experiences,” Lopez-Negrete said.

“We want to stimulate our international visitors to see Mexico beyond our beach resorts, and we have the potential to attract these travelers to see more and spend more,” he said.

Although tourism initiatives will not be finalized until the new administration takes office, Lopez-Negrete is confident that the tourism focus and policies “will be taken to the next level.

The president and his team have seen the success of our strategies and initiatives and already have indicated that tourism will continue to be a top priority.”

As for his future plans, Lopez-Negrete said that “there is a strong team in place and whoever takes over inherits a solid, world-class group of professionals.”

He intends to remain in the tourism industry “whatever happens.”

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly. 
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