Suppliers voice concern over reports Mexico will shutter tourism board

Mexico’s new president, citing a lack of transparency in how
funds are spent, appears to be following through with reported plans to shutter
the country’s international tourism offices and cut funding to promote inbound
tourism. 

Although the government has made no official announcement,
there have been numerous reports in Mexico’s news media in recent months that
president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador planned to shut the Tourism Promotion
Council and shift its $295 million annual budget to construction of a railroad
connecting tourism destinations and villages across the Mayan Peninsula.

In an email to Travel Weekly, Pablo Azcarraga, who chairs
both the Mexican hotel chain Grupo Posadas and Consejo Nacional Empresarial
Turistico (CNET), the voice of Mexico’s private tourism sector, said Thursday
that the private sector “is in the process of negotiating with the federal
government a new proposal to create a new joint entity that will manage the
advertising and promotion funds.”

Azcarraga continued: “I have a programmed meeting with
the secretary of finance to discuss the urgent need for the funds and the
impact that tourism has in the Mexican economy.”

Ray Snisky, chief commercial officer for Apple Leisure Group’s
vacations sector, one of the largest U.S. sellers of Mexico travel packages,
said the new administration “is turning its back on the tourism industry,
which drives employment and fuels the Mexican economy, at the worst possible
time ever.”

“Now more than
ever it is vital for the government to work in collaboration with the private
sector to promote this spectacular tourism offering,” he said. “Other
destinations continue to gain market share, and it will only get worse without
a united promotional strategy.”

Snisky said Apple Leisure Group is enhancing its working
relationship with Mexico’s state tourism offices, “but that fragmented
strategy loses some of the cohesive leverage we were able to gain previously by
engaging consumers and travel counselors with the entirety of the destination
of Mexico in a singular campaign.”

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