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Business Tourism in Mexico Reaches Historic Levels

10 December, 2015

By the end of 2015,the number of business travelers visiting Mexico will be 30 percent higher than it was in 2013. Such unprecedented growth has not been seen before in Mexico,according to the Tourism Ministry,which noted that the influx will generate greater investments in hotels and convention centers as well as other modern infrastructure and amenities. Mexico has also experienced a wave of investment in sectors such as automotive,energy and telecommunications,prompting the number of business tourists in the country to reach a record level by the end of this year.

According to estimates by Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism,at the end of this year 8.4 million business travelers will have traveled in Mexico,including both foreign and domestic. This number is 30 percent higher than it was in 2013 and is also well above the 18 percent increase in the projected CNET for traditional tourism,in comparison with 2013.

Business in Mexico itself is growing at more than twice the rate recorded in 2007,before the global financial crisis. "We had not seen growth of these volumes in the country," said Salvador Sanchez,Undersecretary of Planning and Tourism Policy with Meixco’s Tourism Ministry.

The growing volume of business travelers in Mexico will generate higher investment in infrastructure,such as hotels and convention centers,to meet the demand,but it also reflects the strength of the Mexican economy,which is poised to attract even more investments in the coming months and years,experts agree. Business tourism is defined as travel to manage and realize business opportunities,referring to the purchase and or sale of goods and services. The concept also includes trips linking institutions such as academic travelers attending conferences,conventions,fairs and exhibitions,as well as those engaged in consulting.

In 2014,which is the latest data available,Mexico managed to climb four positions in the world ranking of the International Congress and Convention Association,which highlights countries with the highest number of conferences and conventions. Among 30 countries,Mexico climbed from number 25 to 21st place this year,with 165 events in 2014. "They had not realized the high levels of business travelers in the country,including representatives of convention bureaus," said Eduardo Chaillo,managing director for Latin America at Maritz Travel,a company dedicated to organizing conferences and conventions.

HOTELS WIN

Grupo Posadas,the largest in Mexico,which owns brands such as Fiesta Americana,Fiesta Inn and Aqua Live,all dedicated to business travelers. In fact,this market accounts for 70 percent on average of their  total rooms occupied in the entire hotel chain. "While FDI grow in the country and reforms offer attractive resources,tourism businessman will continue to come to Mexico,” said Jose Carlos Azcarraga,CEO of Grupo Posadas. “For 2016 we expect this segment to continue with a double-digit increase."

Due to the positive results in business tourism,the Marriott US also plans to expand its offerings for this growing sector to 44 percent with the opening of six hotels and a total of 916 rooms. In addition,between 2016 and 2017 Marriott plans to open seven more hotels throughout Mexico. "Our brands Fairfield Inn and Courtyard are focused on everything a business traveler needs,with unparalleled service,” said Kevin Schwab,VP of Latin America and the Caribbean,Marriott International. “This is a clear indication of the importance of business travelers in Mexico for our company."

Blanca Herrera,director of Franchise Services of the Hotel City Express chain,which says 90 percent of its customers are business travelers,also revealed the increase in the number of tourists has led to additional investments in the industry throughout the country."In our 100 hotels we note that business travelers are increasing,it is a demand that is solid,because businesses have to do it,unlike leisure tourism.”

Aeromexico,which has a frequent flyer program called Premier Club in which 80 percent of the guests are business travelers,has also experienced excellent results. According to the annual reports sent to the Mexican Stock Exchange,the number now exceeds 4.3 million customers,which is 19 percent more than in 2013.

Among the places that benefit the most from the performance of business tourism are: Mexico City,Queretaro,Monterrey and Guadalajara. This year,business travelers who came to Mexico City represented 40 percent of total tourists,said Miguel Angel Torruco,Secretary of Tourism in the Federal District. "In 2012 it held 52 events,conducted 55 the following two years (2013 and 2014) and will be doing 65 2015 events in Mexico City,followed by growth of 10 percent in 2016," he estimated.

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