Mexico to launch 'closer than ever' campaign

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MEXICO CITY -- The Mexico Tourism Board is poised to launch a multimillion-dollar winter tourism advertising campaign that will portray Mexico as a safe and "neighborly" destination that is easy to get to.

The campaign carries the tag line "Mexico, Closer Than Ever," and will break in major U.S. daily newspapers and Internet sites on Oct 15. It will be followed by radio spots in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Chicago and Phoenix.

In November, the campaign will launch on national cable channels like Arts & Entertainment, Discovery Channel, History Channel, Food Network and Weather Channel.

"At a time when the entire tourism industry is facing tremendous challenges as a result of the tragic events of Sept. 11, we want our campaign to reiterate the warmth, friendship and hospitality that Mexico offers the traveler," said Javier Vega Camargo, general director, Mexico Tourism Board.

Although hotel occupancy dropped sharply following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., the numbers have begun to creep up, the tourism board said.

Mexico's hotels reported an average occupancy of 41% during the last week of September, representing a drop of 9 percentage points from the same period last year. By comparison, hotel occupancy in Cancun dropped to the low 30s the week following the attacks.

As part of this latest push, the tourism board contracted with four companies in the U.S. and Mexico to handle advertising, public relations, direct mail campaign and travel agent training seminars.

Destination Ventures, a meeting planning firm in Bend, Ore., will operate the travel agent seminars, which are scheduled across the country from Nov. 6 to Dec. 7. A schedule for next year (18 seminars are planned) is being developed and will be released on Oct. 30. The seminars cost $39 and can be paid for on line at www.moodsofmexico.com.

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