KITE Invest recently met in London with the Director of Mexico’s Tourism Board in the UK, Mr. Milko Rivera Hope. Mexico’s unique and vibrant tourism sector were discussed in great detail, highlighting the fact that Mexico does indeed offer more than beach and great cuisine. Moreover, Mexico’s tourism is on the rise, as is the UK’s interest in Mexico as a tourist destination.

KITE Invest: After three decades of struggling to raise growth rates, Mexico is firmly emerging as a major international business power. With regards to tourism, could you discuss how tourism is contributing to Mexico’s growth?

Mexico Tourism Board: Mexico’s growth in the tourism industry is the result of Mexico having amazing tourism product, varied, with options for everyone, but at the same time being completely unique.  That is why we received 24 million tourists last year.

Among things that must be highlighted are that Mexico’s tourism has a fantastic value and price point. Mexico’s cuisine is also the only cuisine in the world that has UNESCO World Heritage designation. Mexico’s weather also is a year round average of 27°C it has some of the Best Diving in the world, ancient pre-Columbian cities, a unique and rich culture, one of the richest and most diverse ecosystems and all sorts of activities that tourists should experience.

Mexico is a Caribbean country, an Atlantic country and a Pacific country; we are also the only Latin American nation in North America and this infuses the country with its unique dynamism. We are unique and original, which is clearly reflected in the numbers of Mexico’s growth in relation to tourism.

KITE: Which types of tourism (eco, gastro, medical) have the most potential?

MTB: Mexico offers all types of tourism; it is not just sun and beach, but Mexico does has some of the most amazing diving, The Cozumel reef is in a class by itself together with the likes of the Great Barrier Reef and the Red Sea. There is historical tourism with colonial towns galore or ancient Mayan and Aztec cities. Medical tourism is also growing considerably in Mexico, especially in northern Mexico. We are a leader in luxury tourism, and the city of San Miguel de Allende has been chosen as the best city in the world year after year.

KITE: UK tourists are known for their extensive travel. What would you say to British tourists in order to increase the numbers of visitors to Mexico?

MTB: The work that the Mexican Tourism Board does is to showcase Mexico and inform the British people that Mexico is one of the best destinations in the world.

Mexico is relatively close as long haul flights are concerned and there are numerous direct flights from London’s major airports to Mexico City, to Mayan Riviera, and to Puerta Vallarta – as well as from Manchester, and the Mexican Pacific has just been opened to the British traveller.

Each individual location in Mexico has its own individual flavour unto itself.

KITE: UK tourists are the second largest group of European travellers, after Germany, and the fifth largest spending group in the world. Despite these figures, is the UK a forgotten market for Mexican tourism?

MTB: No, actually not at all. The British market is Mexico’s third largest tourism market after the United States and Canada; however, the potential for growth is considerable and it is visible. The two-year growth from 2012 to 2014 is 24 per cent, and so far this year we are already 14% above where we were this time last year.

Since Mexico is not top of mind, there is huge potential for growth.

KITE: What promotional strategies is the Mexican Tourism Board doing to make Mexico a top of mind destination?

MTB: We participate in the World Travel Market, in numerous other tourism fairs, we have promotional campaigns, and cooperative campaigns with our partners.

It is about ensuring the Mexico is being seen and that people are aware and experience Mexico.

KITE: Next year, 2015, has been declared the Year of Mexico in the UK, the UK in Mexico. How would you estimate the current level of tourism between the two countries?

MTB: Current levels show that there have never been as many Brits going to Mexico, as there are these days. Last year almost 440 thousand British tourists went to Mexico, and this year we are hopeful that half a million British tourists will make their way to Mexico.