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.

TravTalk - India - - Nto - INDER RAJ AH­LUWALIA

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

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