Got US visa? Head for Mexico
Her Excellency Melba Pría, Ambassador of Mexico to India, feels tourism can be an ideal platform for not just economic gain, but also boosting ties between countries.
Q How important is tourism for Mexico? The importance of tourism to Mexico is unquestionable. It represents 8.5 per cent of GDP and is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. In 2015, a record amount of over 32 million international tourists visited Mexico by air and generated revenue of over $17 billion. Mexico is the world's 8th most-visited country, 12th in terms of tourism foreign revenue earnings, and number one in Latin America.
Q What are Mexico’s greatest attractions for foreign tourists?
Mexico’s broad range of tourist attractions includes the heritage of pre-Columbian civilisations; archaeological sites that are symbols of national identity; some of the world’s most beautiful beaches; and the combination of millenary cultures with major cities. Mexico is a perfect destination for family travel, as it offers something for all ages.
We are proud to be home to 34 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and to one of the modern wonders of the world: the Mayan pyramid of Chichén Itzá. There are also breathtaking ancient ruins from great civilisations like the Aztecs, Toltecs or Zapotecs.
Food is another essential element in the Mexican experience. It is so important that in 2010, the United Nations declared Mexican Cuisine as ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’.
Q Is Mexico keen on getting Indian tourists and conventions?
Our proximity to the United States, which is a traditional destination for Indians, as well as the warm weather and historical sites, attracts Indian travellers. Last year, Mexico received over 50,000 Indian visitors, and the numbers will increase. It is now easier for Indians to travel to Mexico, given that a Mexican visa is not necessary when they present a valid American visa. This has facilitated tourism to the point that last year 90 per cent of Indian tourists entered Mexico in this manner. ‘Convention and events tourism’ is an area in which Mexico has been remarkably successful. In 2015, Mexico hosted 206 international conferences, representing an increase of 41 events with respect to 2014. In 2014, this
India and Mexico will also convene a meeting of their tour operators and hoteliers on the sidelines of WTM London 2016
segment of tourism generated 13.6 million tourists.
Q Do you feel tourism would boost bi-lateral ties between Mexico and India?
Definitely! We want more Indians to come to Mexico because we are sure that they’ll fall in love with the country and feel at home. During a recent meeting of the bilateral High Level Group (HLG) on Trade, Investment and Economic Cooperation in Mexico, discussions were held on ways to boost cooperation in tourism. India and Mexico will also convene a meeting of their tour operators and hoteliers on the sidelines of the World Travel Market in London this November. Both nations have decided to hold meetings of the government-level ‘joint working group’ on tourism regularly, and plans are also on to conduct training programmes on Indian and Mexican cuisines.
Melba Pría Ambassador of Mexico to India