Mexico Plans New Tourism Investment
Mexico, one of the world's leading tourist destinations, is planning further investment in its tourist industry over the next three years. According to an announcement by Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto, private companies in the country are planning to invest approximately $8.6 billion in tourism infrastructure, including constructing new hotels, refurbishing existing facilities and enhancing public spaces. Pablo Azcarraga, who heads up Mexico's tourism board , says that these initiatives are likely to result in 28,000 direct new jobs, as well as create an additional 78,000 jobs in associated industries.
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Mexico is already seeing a boom in tourism, with some tour operators and resorts reporting record-breaking sales in the first three months of 2013. In part, this is due to waning concerns about safety in Mexico, which appear to have been largely unfounded. For example, the murder rate in Mexico City is 25% of that in Washington DC, and areas like the Yucatán are about as safe as living in the rural United States – the homicide rate there is about the same as Maine, and less than half the rate in West Virginia. Another reason may be the relatively cold winter in parts of the United States and Canada last year, driving snow-weary travelers to seek sun and sand south of the border.
According to some reports, one of the areas seeing the biggest increase in tourism is the Riviera Maya and adjacent Cozumel, located on the Yucatán Peninsula. This is a traditional family holiday destination, and also offers a wide range of aquatic sports, including scuba diving along the Belize Barrier Reef. A large number of Mayan ruins are also an attraction, and may be contributing to the 35% to 40% rise in bookings. The area boasts a wide selection of upscale accommodation, such as the Park Royal Cancun. Royal Holiday also runs several other resorts in Mexico – you can find Royal Holiday news on Twitter.
In total, the investment will involve 176 separate projects across Mexico. In addition to hotel construction and refurbishment, there will also be investment in airport infrastructure, theme parks, marinas, golf courses, healthcare facilities and retirement communities. All in all, the program will extend to 27 major tourist destinations spread across 17 Mexican states.
The investment is not just a government objective without any substantive financial backing. The National Tourist Business Council (CNET) is fully behind the initiative and is supplying the necessary capital. CNET is an umbrella organization that brings together 15 separate national associations and regional chambers, spanning the entire breadth of the Mexican tourist industry. CNET represents 96% of tourism activity in Mexico, lending fundamental credibility to the investment initiative.
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This announcement has significant ramifications for the Mexican economy, as tourism accounts for $12.6 billion of economic activity in Mexico, with over 27 million foreign nationals visiting there on holiday each year. The Mexican President highlighted this importance, stating that, "The tourism industry generates a balanced sustainable development; it generates jobs especially for young people and women. It is also a safe route to the prosperous Mexico we have set as a national goal.”