Mexico on the mend?

August 10, 2009

The latest WTTC research indicates that Mexico’s Travel & Tourism Economy GDP growth will average 5% per annum over the next decade, generating 2 million direct industry jobs over the course of the ten years.

That’s a pretty impressive bounceback after being hit first and hardest by swine flu when more than 2,000 inbound flights were cancelled and losses are estimated to be around US$200 – $300 million. Pre-, during and post-swine flu the Mexican Government and the local tourism industries have provided an excellent example to the world of how to manage and develop their travel industry – in 2008, tourist arrivals to Mexico grew by 5.9%, during swine-flu, external and internal communications were exemplary and research show that the travel and tourism has increased its contribution to 13.2% of Mexico’s GDP.

It’s a shame that such a positive and encouraging Mexico-scape is slightly tarnished by the recent new crime in Cancun – sand stealing – supposedly a way of combating beach erosion caused by Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Resorts have been found guilty of illegally pumping sand from the sea bed to their hotel-front beaches and placing breakwaters in the sea to retain sand. Consequently at least one hotel-front beach has been closed and cordoned off with yellow police tape like an episode of CSI Miami.

It would seem that Mexico has a lot more to offer the curious traveller than Cancun. I spoke to Lloyd Boutcher from Sunvil Traveller and he gave me his take on the country.

“The interior of Mexico really gives you a sense of history and culture. The pyramids of Palenque which stood gracefully amid dense jungle undiscovered until 1746 are overwhelming and now form the site of one of the most romantic and magical of the ancient Mayan cities. Colonial Campeche, once completely walled to fend off marauding pirate attacks, is home to two forts and some of the original walls remain. Indulge in the culinary delights of Oaxaca, including the local speciality of grasshoppers fried in chilli, and mill around Merida’s main square and adjacent streets which overflow with live music and dance performances at the weekends. Experience a train ride through the Copper Canyon, at least seven times larger than the Grand Canyon, and the ancient home of the Tarahumara Indian tribe. And for the more adventurous honeymooners, Mexico is highly recommended for its colourful colour and some incredibly chic, unusual, small hotels.” Mika Bishop.