Mexico Travel Market Revamped

Enhanced interaction and networking a goal of the changes

By: Lisa Jennings

With the slogan “Death to the Taco Bar,” Destination Ventures has revamped the annual Mexico Travel Market events, which this year will be offered in 12 cities throughout the United States and Canada.

The traditional buffet taco bar at the series of evening events has been replaced by a sit-down dinner, which organizer Greg Custer hopes will “enhance the interaction between suppliers and agents.”

Dinner will be preceded by a networking reception, with hosted bar and live music to increase one-on-one time with suppliers.

“We felt the industry was calling out for something more meaningful,” said Custer, who is vice president of Destination Ventures based in Bend, Ore.

This year the Suppliers Showcase will include short presentations by suppliers aimed directly to the audience as a whole, he added.

The events will also include two destination seminars sponsored by the Puerto Vallarta Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Riviera Maya Tourism Board.

“The days of just picking up brochures have gone the way of printed air tickets,” said Custer.

Destination Ventures will also do a profile of attendees. A pre-event questionnaire will ask agents about their agencies, their experience selling Mexico and their particular areas of interest. The latter will be included on attendees name tags so suppliers can tailor the information they offer to specific interests.

Enrollment guidelines have also changed. This year there is a $10 registration fee. Attendees must demonstrate membership in an industry organization and no more than four agents from one agency may attend.

Prizes are promised, but “no T-shirts or duffle bags.”

Airline sponsors of the event include Aeromexico, Mexicana, Alaska Airlines and Frontier Airlines. A wide range of hotels and tour operators will also be participating, as well as the Mexico Tourism Board.

Destination Ventures has also launched a new online course on Travel Impressions and Occidental Hotels Mexico products ( The Web site includes eight courses on six destination areas, and more e-learning courses are planned down the road, said Custer.