Mexico Sets Strategy to Refocus on Luxury Travel Market
By James Shillinglaw
August 14, 2012 7:41 PM
Gloria Guevara, secretary of tourism for Mexico, speaking at Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas, said her country was putting more emphasis in its promotions on the luxury market. “We were really not focused as well on the luxury segment,” she said, even though the country has long offered top luxury resorts. With the new strategy, Mexico will seek travelers with a higher spend than traditional sun and beach vacationers.
In order to accomplish that, the country is developing programs with Virtuoso and other high-end groups to highlight the fact that Mexico is a close-in destination featuring luxury resorts and travel experiences that can’t be found anywhere else. Guevara pointed out that Mexico has 14 AAA Five-Diamond resorts, 128 AAA Four-Diamond resorts, 32 resorts on Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold list, 23 properties on Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best list. The country also is the second most popular for Virtuoso travelers.
Guevara said Mexico also would put more emphasis on exclusive private experiences and taking Mexico’s “robust partnership with Virtuoso to the next level.” For example, Mexico will work to open top museums during off hours for high-end travelers. It also will begin opening up top archeological sites, such as certain areas of Chichen Itza, which not currently accessible to the public for exclusive viewing by small groups of high-end travelers. Guevara said such programs would launch in the next one to two months.
Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch, who pointed out that he was born in Mexico and retains an intense affinity with the country, pointed out that Mexico has added significant luxury inventory in recent years. He said that even though luxury travelers represent only a small percentage of arrivals to a country, they are “opinionators,” leaders in their communities and have a disproportionate influence on
In tandem with its renewed focus on luxury travelers, Mexico also is putting more emphasis on sustainability, with a new “S” designation for hotels, tour operators, restaurants and other travel services providers to show they are certified as operating sustainable tourism. “The end goal is to have pretty much everyone with that symbol,” Guevara said. “Consumers will look for those properties….which will mean more customers and will be something that is good for the environment and good for the country.”