Destination marketing organizations across Mexico have been busy ramping up their travel agent specialist and fam trip programs for the fall. In some cases, they are attracting agents with subsidized airfares.
Destination Ventures, the Bend, Ore.-based company that operates many of the Mexico specialist and destination training programs, is offering fam trips to Cozumel, Acapulco, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and Ixtapa.
The Cancun trips are already full for 2010 but space remains on others. For a schedule see www.magicofmexico.com.
The air subsidies were introduced by Destination Ventures this year, said Greg Custer, vice president.
"Working with airlines to secure seats and discounts is unworkable, so we’ve convinced our destination partners to set aside funds (from $200 to $400 per agent) as a subsidy. Everyone wins. The trips fill up and agents get a lower-priced fam experience," Custer said.
"Individual CVBs are looking to create more attractive agent programs. And agents consistently tell us that fam access is the most important benefit of taking a specialist program. Now, we’re making the trips more accessible."
Agent interest in Mexico destination education isn’t as strong as it should be, Custer said, possibly because of the country’s troubles but mostly because they simply feel they don’t need to know more.
"There’s a committed core of agents who embrace education and see expanding business through knowledge," he said.
But others who have traveled to Mexico don’t believe they need to refresh their knowledge even though "Mexico’s product is evolving and expanding to mirror traveling trends faster than any Latin American destination," said Custer.
Destination Ventures plans to create specialist modules based on the Mexico Tourism Board’s recently unveiled historic and cultural itineraries, which have been the focal point of a print, billboard and TV advertising campaign.