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Opening up Mexico to the world

Article - December 2, 2013
New policy and a new tourism cabinet are set to turn Mexico into a world-class tourist destination offering much more than the beaches of Cancún and Riviera Maya
CLAUDIA RUIZ MASSIEU, SECRETARY OF TOURISM
Part of President Peña Nieto’s vision for Mexico is a world-class tourism sector. In February he unveiled the National Tourism Policy which aims to turn the country into one of the world’s top tourist destinations, with billions of dollars to be invested in the coming years in the building and revamping of new and existing infrastructure.  
 
Already an important part of the economy, tourism directly and indirectly employs around 7 million. Last year tourist receipts reached US$12.7 billion, contributing 8.4% to Mexico’s GDP.  It was a record year with 24 million tourist arrivals, a 2.6% increase on 2011. It is hoped this year that figure could reach over 25 million, generating US$13 billion in foreign exchange.
 
Meanwhile, the President announced that there would be US$8.6 billion of private investment in tourism in the next three years, reflecting huge investor confidence in the sector.
 
Secretary of Tourism Claudia Ruiz Massieu has warmly welcomed the President’s focus on tourism, saying: “From the start of his tenure, the president recognized that tourism was a strategic priority. I’m very happy with his support. We have been rapidly implementing the guidelines of the National Tourism Policy.”  
 
Six months on from the unveiling of the National Tourism Policy, President Peña Nieto in August formally established the Tourism Cabinet, which will oversee the implementation of policies by coordinating the work of the federal and regional governments, governmental agencies and other important players. 
 
“It is the ideal vehicle to bring together the government’s activities to foster growth in tourism. We truly believe that this is the watershed that will allow us to generate results,” says Ms. Ruiz Massieu. 
“We want to develop cultural tourism, sports tourism, adventure tourism, ecotourism, luxury tourism, and medical tourism – this segment particularly has a big opportunity to grow with the U.S. market”

“If we offer a complete all-in-one experience of beach, culture and gastronomy, we’ll have a much more powerful and more competitive destination internationally”


Claudia Ruiz Massieu,
Secretary of Tourism

The resorts of Cancún and Playa Riviera have long been a favorite of beach lovers. But with a rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, culinary delights and Hispanic and ancient pre-Hispanic architectural wonders, Mexico offers much more than sun, sand and sea. 
 
In order to compete as a world-class destination, Mexico wants to diversify its tourist offerings. “We want to develop cultural tourism, sports tourism, adventure tourism, ecotourism, luxury tourism, and medical tourism – this segment particularly has a big opportunity to grow with the U.S. market,” says the Tourism Secretary.
 
“Innovation is the key to being competitive. We have great tourist attractions, but the tourist wants new experiences, so we constantly have to offer new services and this is what we’re developing.”
 
A new high-speed rail project also falls in line with the vision for tourism and is going to bring new dynamism to the typical Mexican tourist experiences of Riviera Maya and Cancún. 
 
“These are well recognized, world-class destinations and receive the bulk of our international tourists,” says Secretary Ruiz Massieu. 
 
“But with these strategies, we are offering the peninsula as a complete destination. You can go to Cancún and Riviera Maya, but also make a trip to visit Tulum, Chichén Itzá, Mérida, Valladolid, Campeche, and the entire Mayan Peninsula.
 
“If we offer a complete all-in-one experience of beach, culture and gastronomy, we’ll have a much more powerful and more competitive destination internationally,” she concludes.

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