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The defunding of Mexico’s national tourism board has created new challenges for the nation’s state tourism boards trying to market their destinations to travelers and travel advisors. Dario Flota Ocampo, tourism director for the Quintana Roo Tourism Board, promotes one of Mexico’s most popular tourism destinations. And his relatively new, amalgamated tourism board works to create a unified promotional strategy.
The Quintana Roo Tourism Board represents popular Mexican locales such as Cancun, Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres, Costa Mujeres, Holbox Island and Tulum. We asked him for the region’s latest news.
How important is Quintana Roo to Mexico overall?What happens in Quintana Roo affects the entire country. More than half the international visitors to Mexico land in the Cancun airport. The Mexico City airport has more domestic traffic, but the Cancun airport is the main airport for international traffic, and that traffic is still growing.
With the defunding of Mexico’s national tourism board, can consumers and advisors expect a different marketing strategy?The lack of a national tourism board has forced destinations to seek alliances — to join forces to do marketing. We are missing the Mexico Tourism Board in many ways for international campaigns and presentations. Fortunately, the Quintana Roo tourism board was created a year and a half ago and was prepared for our government’s decision. We continue to attend every trade show relevant to the industry. We are collaborating and doing things differently than they were done before. For instance, we created a website and a map with no state borders — just the tourism sites. Mexico as a country has a variety of cultural and gastronomic experiences in its different regions. It’s a rich product to offer, and it’s good for foreign visitors to know as much as possible about the entire country.
What can advisors look forward to from Quintana Roo? We’re launching a new website this month designed with state-of-the-art technology. It will be helpful for advisors and meeting planners; be user-friendly; and show what our destination has to offer. Cancun is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary on April 22, 2020. It’s the anniversary of the construction of the first hotel in Cancun, and it’s amazing how much the destination has grown in 50 years. The hotel association and the municipality have been working together to make plans for the celebration that will be announced soon. There will be a variety of offers and promotions at Cancun’s restaurants and hotels.
Can we expect any new hotel developments in Quintana Roo in the next year and, if so, where are they being built? We opened 6,000 new hotel rooms this year, and there are 15,000 under construction. This represents the confidence investors have that this region will continue to grow and be successful. Most of the new developments are in Riviera Maya or near Cancun in a new area known as Costa Mujeres. Cancun has about 30,000 hotel rooms, and this new area will contain just about 25,000 hotel rooms.
How will Costa Mujeres be marketed as a new destination in this region? Costa Mujeres belongs to the municipality of Isla Mujeres, so we are working on the branding to avoid confusion. We expect what will happen there is what happened in Puerto Morelos. It is a town between Cancun and Playa del Carmen that has some 5,000 hotel rooms. Many of the hotels there have “Cancun” or “Riviera Maya” in their name, and those properties appear in the Cancun section of many catalogues and websites. This can be confusing, because they’re not really in Cancun. Right now, no one knows where Costa Mujeres is, so they need to use Cancun as a reference. The same thing happened with Riviera Maya.
What are your biggest marketing challenges?We have been under the pressure of bad or false news about what’s going on in Mexico in terms of sargassum (seaweed) and security issues. We have been working closely with media and with advisors to offer a lot of information. We’ve been asking the industry to provide us with its good news — openings, sale prices, new chefs, festivals and more — and we’ve received so much information that we now share the news two times per week. We have industry partners who are very proactive. They are helping us share a lot of good news.
The DetailsQuintana Roo Tourism Boardwww.visitmexico.com