Claudia Ruiz Massieu, secretary of tourism // © 2014 Mexican Secretary of Tourism
Feature image (above): Rodolfo Lopez Negrete introduces “Mi Mexico.” // © 2014 Mindy Poder
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The Mexican Secretary of Tourism recently announced that its 2015 tourism campaign will target the U.S. Hispanic market. The new campaign is part of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s plan to fuel Mexico’s national economic growth by boosting tourism.
“Under the leadership of secretary [of tourism] Claudia Ruiz Massieu, we have been able to accumulate numbers never before seen in the history of tourism in Mexico,” said Rodolfo Lopez Negrete, CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board, at the launch event in Los Angeles. “Year to date, as of September, the tourism sector has generated $12 billion in foreign income, representing a 17.4 increase over 2013 and 28.2 percent against 2012.”
This revenue growth was fueled by a 21.8 percent increase in air travel and an 18.2 percent increase in international tourists, both up from last year.
Mexico welcomed a total of 5.5 million visitors in 2014, which is a 22.4 percent jump since 2012 and a 12.4 percent jump since 2013. According to Negrete, 10 out of the top 12 inbound markets have enjoyed healthy growth rates over the last three years, with the exception of Russia and Argentina.
The U.S. remains the predominant market for Mexico — without a doubt, Negrete said. Last year, 93,900 flights were taken from 62 U.S. airports to 38 destinations in Mexico.
And the West is leading the charge.
“California has already made up its mind,” said Carlos Sada, Mexican consul general of Los Angeles. “It was the leading U.S. state to send tourists to Mexico, and Mexico is the No. 1 source of tourists to California.”
About 30 percent of visitors from the U.S. to Mexico are of Hispanic descent.
“But we have a lot of homework to do,” Negrete said. “An important task is to go full force after the Hispanic consumer with a dedicated, tailor-made program.”
Though Mexico has appealed to this market with isolated actions, this will be the first time that U.S. Hispanic consumers will have their own dedicated national tourist campaign. “Mi Mexico” will launch in early 2015.
Mexico is targeting Americans of Hispanic descent because of their buying power, which is expected to reach $1.3 trillion in the coming years, Negrete said. This is where travel agents come in.
“Hispanics spend more and travel more than the general market,” Negrete said. “They travel with more kids and in larger groups. [Nina Meyer], the president of ASTA, has recognized the relevance of Hispanics and the drivers that move their travel wants and needs. That’s what we want to pursue.”
Increasing these numbers will not be without challenges. Negrete explained that Hispanics in America tend to think of Mexico as too familiar: They can often speak the language, and they think they already know its food, its culture and its people.
“Our idea is to present Mexico as a destination that is not made up of tourist attractions, but personal stories, tastes and sensations of the many Mexicos we know exist,” Negrete said. “Because Mexico is many Mexicos: culture, sun and beach, adventure, gastronomy — just to name a few. It is a personal and unique experience. You might know Mexico, but you don’t know ‘Mi Mexico.’”
Promotional videos show stories told in first person and feature individuals engaging with the regions of Chiapas, Chihuahua, Campeche, Mexico City, Quintana Roo and the Yucatan. The first stage of the campaign will focus on Latin bicultural consumers who were born or raised in the U.S., as well as Mexican immigrants. The national integrated marketing campaign will air on popular Hispanic television shows and will feature a strong social media component, featuring the hashtag #MiMexico.