BE­YOND BOR­DERS

Re­cent me­dia at­ten­tion may have fo­cused on the US pres­i­dent’s wall, but there is much more to Mex­ico for both tourists and in­vestors

Business Traveller - - CONTENTS -

Ex­plor­ing Mex­ico’s im­pres­sive art scene and eco­nomic po­ten­tial

All na­tions are to some ex­tent car­i­ca­tured by lazy stereo­types and head­line-grab­bing sen­sa­tion­al­ism by the me­dia. Few, how­ever, get as bad a press as Mex­ico. You’d never guess, in the slew of lurid sto­ries on drug and gun traf­fick­ing, hor­ror-film crim­i­nal­ity, Trump’s wall and im­mi­gra­tion, that the United Mex­i­can States, one of the old­est ter­ri­to­ries set­tled by Euro­peans in the main­land Amer­i­cas, is the world’s 15th big­gest econ­omy, se­cond big­gest in Latin Amer­ica, home to the largest Span­ish-speak­ing pop­u­la­tion in the Amer­i­cas – and a pow­er­house of lit­er­a­ture, the arts, ar­chi­tec­ture and gas­tron­omy.

Any vis­i­tor to Mex­ico City – per­haps the most mis­rep­re­sented of all Mex­i­can des­ti­na­tions – is quickly ap­prised of the fact that life south of the Rio Bravo (its name in Mex­ico, not Grande) can be pretty won­der­ful. The range of ho­tels is per­haps the widest in Latin Amer­ica, from five-star chains to bou­tique prop­er­ties. Gas­tron­omy is world class, as sug­gested by the fact that six of the top 50 Latin Amer­i­can restau­rants, in­clud­ing long-revered eater­ies Pu­jol and Quin­tonil, are in Mex­ico City. (An­other five are found else­where in Mex­ico.) In the cap­i­tal, art is show­cased at shim­mer­ing build­ings such as the MUAC, Museo Jumex and Car­los Slim’s Museo Soumaya, while the city’s Zona Maco and Ma­te­rial Art Fair are among the Western Hemi­sphere’s most im­por­tant art gath­er­ings.

Home to 8.9 mil­lion in­hab­i­tants, it’s per­haps no sur­prise that Mex­ico City should have big-city at­tractions. But there are draws in smaller des­ti­na­tions, too, from Guadala­jara’s film and arts scenes to Oax­aca’s in­no­va­tive cui­sine and colo­nial cen­tre.

WHEELS OF IN­DUS­TRY

Un­der­ly­ing the cul­tural di­ver­sity is an in­dus­trial gi­ant. Mex­ico’s US$1.15 tril­lion econ­omy (IMF) is built on pe­tro­leum, iron and steel. The Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co-op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (OECD) rates Mex­i­can peo­ple as the hard­est-work­ing in the world. One of the most diver­si­fied economies in its re­gion, it is also the only Latin Amer­i­can na­tion to edge into the eco­nomic com­plex­ity top rank­ings.

Mex­ico is al­ways near the top of the ta­ble of global tourism. Ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions World Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion (UNWTO), 39.3 mil­lion peo­ple vis­ited Mex­ico in 2017, mak­ing it the sixth-ranked tourism des­ti­na­tion; ad­mit­tedly, the num­bers are pumped up by →

Un­der­ly­ing Mex­ico’s cul­tural di­ver­sity is an in­dus­trial gi­ant built on pe­tro­leum, iron and steel

Na­tional Mu­seum of Fin­land.

TOP: Started in 1573, Mex­ico City’s Cathe­dral was not com­peted un­til 1813 ABOVE AND ABOVE RIGHT: Pu­jol, which is ranked 13th in the World’s 50 Best Restau­rants list, rein­ter­prets Mex­i­can cui­sine through a con­tem­po­rary lens

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