Mexico Tourism Indicators Up for the First Half of 2008

By: Lisa Coleman

Mexico is a survivor. It seems as much as the U.S. wants to focus on the bad, people still seem to see the good. Despite the steady stream of negative press, the tourists still come, the hotels still thrive, and more and more, people are considering a permanent move south of the border. For those of us who love and understand this amazing country, it’s a constant struggle against the media. They drudge through the daily  public drug wars, the poverty, and mold a perception. Still Mexico pushes forward. They are fighting for their image, and for the life blood that is tourism.

It’s no secret things have been rough for Mexico in the last year. The media has made sure you heard it all. Well, I’ve got some good news to share…. people are still coming to Mexico. And the numbers prove the point.

In the first seven months of the year, Mexico received $8.475 million dollars in foreign currency, which signified a 6.3 percent increase compared to the same period in 2007.

• Almost 14 million tourists entered the country, an increase of 5.2 percent compared to the same period last year.
• As of July 2008, the country registered a total of 2.234 million workers in the tourism industry, which represents a 2.3 percent higher rate than the one registered in the same month in 2007.

During the first seven months of the year, there was an influx of $8.475 million dollars from the spending of foreign tourists, which signified a 6.3 percent increase compared to the same period in 2007, informed Rodolfo Elizondo Torres, Secretary of Tourism of Mexico (SECTUR).

According to the most recent data from the Bank of Mexico’s International Visitor Count, Secretary Elizondo said, in the January-July 2008 period, the country received 13.620 million tourists, a quantity that represented a 5.2 percent increase compared to the same period in 2007. 

Likewise, the head of SECTUR said that the average spending of tourists who traveled further than the border – those who have the longest stays and greater spending – was of $788 dollars per trip, which represents an increase of 3.8 percent from 2007.

Secretary Elizondo emphasized  the airline industry transported 26.5 million passengers between January and July 2008, 6.1 percent more than in 2007.

So there you have it… My sombrero is off to everyone involved with the tourism industry!

Now Is The Time To Consider Mexico As Home

David Simmonds

It looks like Congress might have a deal today that I suspect will help stanch the bleeding for a week…a month? No one seems to know for sure. One thing you can count on, Wall Street will benefit and the rest of us, the taxpayers,  will not. The number one cause of home foreclosures in this country is not sub-prime loans. No, it is catastrophic medical bills. Using that money to fix our health care system, something that would benefit all Americans, would be a much wiser use of what is left of our Treasury (actually, we have no Treasury, this is all borrowed money). As soon as the hammer came down on Wall Street they started looking for an angle. To quote from the New York Times “Even as policy makers worked on details of a $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, Wall Street began looking for ways to profit from it”. Herbert Hoover did the same thing in 1931 trying to bail out the banks. It didn’t work and The Great Depression ensued.

But, what do I know? That’s debatable, except that for many Americans Mexico is looking like a very good option as a place to buy property and spend their remaining years. This economic shake-out, the culmination of 30 years of failed Reaganomics policies (when Reagan took office we were the world’s number one creditor nation, four years later we were the world’s largest debtor nation), is going to take years to correct for a country that now manufactures very little and where the middle-class is in sharp decline. Retirement benefits, 401k’s, and home equities are shrinking like Rush Limbaugh’s gym shorts, and a life once envisioned is now but a Kafka-esque dream.

So it comes as no surprise that the top retirement publiction International Living has named Mexico the top country in the world for the second straight year in their annual Global Retirement Index. Each country is graded on Real Estate, Special Benefits, Cost of Living, Culture, Health, Infrastructure, Safety/Stability, and Climate to end at at Total number for ranking. The next nine countries were Ecuador, Panama, Uruguay, Italy, Brazil, France. Argentina, Costa Rica and Australia. The U.S. came in at 21, wedged between Thailand and Colombia. Not surprisingly, The Cost of Living, Special Benefits and Real Estate were the areas that lowered the U.S. rating.

For those of you who would like to live in dignity as you age, Mexico just might be the answer. Right now you can live well, either on or near the beach or in a 400-year-old colonial town for 30 – 50% of what it would cost in the U.S. Medical care can be purhased for about $300 per year, and local doctors still do house calls for about $30. I’m not suggesting that you give up your citizenship or discontinue to vote. We all need to try to improve on the current situation as active participants in our democracy. But in the shrinking-world age of the internet you can do those things from Mexico as easy as Des Moines.

Lydia Gregory (aka Lola on this blog page) and I will soon have an ebook available to answer many of the questions on how to make the move to Mexico. Check out my site here from time to time see when it is ready to view www.movetomexico.com

 

Mexico’s Tourism Responds to Global Climate Change

MEXICO CITY, Sept 26, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Climate change is one of the major challenges the world is facing today. This year’s celebration of World Tourism Day 2008 will be focused on finding ways to bring together the public and private sector in order to respond to the global challenge of climate change. The main objective of World Tourism Day, which takes place on September 27th is to increase global awareness on the relevance of tourism on a social, cultural, political and economical level.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) declared climate change a priority issue showing the increasing consciousness that tourism is a sector that impacts a wide range of economic and social activities and a key driver to both tackle the issues of climate change and poverty.
As one of the top tourism destinations in the world, Mexico is taking steps to foster tourism while at the same time protect the environment. Mexico’s Tourism Development Program for 2007-2012 promotes the sustainable use of natural and cultural resources to create tourism infrastructures and services that benefit rural and urban communities. The plan includes a strategy to advance regional development and promote actions that mitigate the impact of climate change on tourism destinations, particularly in coastal areas.
“We support sustainable tourism as a form of protecting the diversity and way of life of communities surrounding us,” says Rodolfo Elizondo Torres, Secretary of Tourism of Mexico. “Mexico has responded to the increasing demand of nature tourism by investing more in this segment. Currently, 14 government institutions are working together in programs that motivate the communities living in the nature to develop products for North American tourism.”

Check Out These DF Photos

We sometimes forget what an amazing, diverse city Mexico City is. The size alone can be intimidating, with neighborhoods that extend forever, connected by fast streets lined with people and businesses that would take years to explore. I can’t think of a more interesting city in  North America.

Our friend Greg Custer, who runs a great business with his wife Jane called Destination Ventures http://www.destinationventures.com, sent me this web page link filled with some awesome aerial photos of Mexico City taken by a helicopter pilot  http://homepage.mac.com/helipilot/PhotoAlbum31.html

THE MEXICO TOURISM BOARD PARTICIPATES IN THE 2008 EDITION OF

Mexico will showcase its top incentive travel destinations by once again, hosting the largest booth at the industry’s largest trade and educational fair

CHICAGO, Ill., – The Mexico Tourism Board is proud to take part in the largest incentive travel industry show of the America’s: The Motivation Show 2008 which returns to the Chicago’s prestigious McCormick Place on 23rd through the 25th. Mexico will welcome more than 12,000 buyers and international suppliers at the Mexico Pavilion – the largest both in the show that comprises an area of 6,400 square feet. 

The Motivation Show in Chicago – the most important incentive travel exhibition in the United States – will allow Mexico to continue to position itself as one of the best world destinations for the meeting and conventions market. Mexico will highlight the advantages it offers the meetings and conventions tourism market; from its modern infrastructure and high-end technology of facilities to the friendliness and kindness of its people complemented by the natural attractions of this country.

Mexico recognizes the importance of this multi-billion dollar industry in which U.S. companies’ annual share accounts for 15 billion dollars spent on incentive travel alone. Hence, Mexico continues to stay on the vanguard of global incentive travel trends by adapting successful programs into the country’s tourism supply such as the implementation of 0% VAT Tax for congresses and conventions travel in 2005, the creation of Your Best Reward is Mexico in 2006 – a program which since has introduced Veracruz, Guadalajara and Campeche as certified incentive destinations.

This year shows no exception to Mexico’s avant-garde track record. Following a proven sales tax rebate model, in 2008 Mexico joins a selected group of first world nations that successfully offer this program to international visitors. The sales tax reimbursement program “gives a value-added incentive to tourist who are seeking to discover our diverse attractions beyond their borders” said Oscar Fitch Gomez, CEO of the MTB, last June when this program was first announced.

Tax Back – company given the concession to operate this program – initiated its administrative operations back in June and is ready to begin processing VAT reimbursements this fall. At the Motivation Show (IT&ME)’s Mexico pavilion, Tax Back will hold a press conference that aims to answer all administrative, operating and practical questions about this program.

All of these programs are a mere bonus to the already valuable and internationally favored Mexican destinations; this is proven by an Incentives & Meetings International 2007-2008 Reader’s Survey conducted by I&MI Media which demonstrates that Mexico is the 3rd most preferred incentive travel destination in the world.

Amongst the most important sites for congress and conventions in Mexico are: The World Trade Center and The Banamex Center in Mexico City, The Acapulco Convention Center, The Campeche XXI Convention Center, The Cancun Convention Center, The International Center for Business of Monterrey, and Expo Guadalajara; there are also hotels and other meeting sites in various cities across the country.

Starwood Resorts in Los Cabos Offer Year-End Packages

The Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos and Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Resort & Spa, Los Cabos have announced their year-end packages giving travelers renewed incentives to visit the spectacular coastal resorts.

The Westin Resort & Spa is offering the Reconnect Package, priced at $418 per night for a minimum stay of two nights, and is perfect for families, as this package includes the Kids Eat Free Program and access to the Westin Kids Club. With a one-night minimum stay starting at $229 per night, the Escape Package allows guests to getaway to paradise, with breakfast at the resort’s signature restaurant, Arrecifes or through room service; a local newspaper delivered daily; and a 4:00 p.m. late checkout time. With a minimum three-night stay, the Temptation Package features a welcome bottle of wine; daily breakfast and one dinner for two at Arrecifes; and a 10 percent discount on all food and beverages (except the minibar) at $807 per night.

For a romantic getaway, the Westin also presents the Honeymoon Package, a three-night excursion including an ocean-view guestroom, daily breakfast and one dinner at Arrecifes or through room service; a Honeymoon amenity; and complete access to the resort’s fitness center, priced at $765 per night. All packages are available until December 19th, 2008. For more information, please visit http://www.westinloscabos.com/ or call (011) 52-624-142-9000.

Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Resort & Spa is offering the X-Mas, Spa, and Sun Package. With a minimum two-night stay, guests can enjoy a Deluxe Garden Viewroom with a Jacuzzi and private terrace, plus an upgrade to an Ocean View if available. The package includes a treat of chocolate truffles upon arrival, breakfast buffet for two at Tomates Restaurant, a welcoming Spa Amenity for each guest, the choice between 50-minute Aromatherapy or Swedish message treatments each day, for each person, and free access to the resort’s fitness center, sauna, and steam shower, for only $635 per night. A limited number of rooms may be available at these rates and additional restrictions and blackout dates may apply. The package is available December 1st through 28th, 2008. For more information, please visit http://www.sheratonloscabos.com/ or call (011) 52-624-145-8000.

New Type of Masterplanned Community Unveiled in Mexico’s Yucatan

 By: MP Mexico News Staff

Prestigious Lifestyle Amenities Debut With the Hemisphere’s Lowest Home Prices

MERIDA, Mexico/PRNewswire/ — For the first time, a resort community is coupling dramatic lifestyle amenities and remarkably low home prices to deliver a unique, five-star experience for second home buyers, vacation home buyers and retirees. Flamingo Lakes, a new community in the Yucatan Peninsula, is combining its 840-acre nature preserve, two golf courses, beach club and marina, spa and fitness center, championship tennis academy, equestrian center with a great home value — a two-bedroom, three-bathroom detached home for $260,000 USD. Condominiums overlooking the golf course start at only $113,000 USD.

To introduce buyers to the region, Flamingo Lakes is hosting a “Fly Buy” discovery tour. Visitors who spend three days at the resort and decide to buy or invest within five days of leaving Flamingo Lakes will be reimbursed up to $1,500 USD in travel costs from the purchase price. Supported by the Mexican government with title guaranteed by First American, a leading US title company, Flamingo Lakes is also offering a 4 percent commission to US and Canadian brokers.

“Fortune Magazine recognizes the Yucatan as one of the top five picks for residential real estate investment, and when you visit Flamingo Lakes, you’ll understand why,” said Carmen Laborin, marketing director for Flamingo Lakes. “Coupled with the resort’s five-star amenities, Flamingo Lakes is a great value and an incredible investment that will be enjoyed for generations to come.”

With old world landmarks including Mayan ruins, haciendas and cathedrals, and modern conveniences like theaters, universities and shopping malls, Merida offers a unique blend of colonial city and cosmopolitan destination. Popular retailers including Sears, Sam’s Club, Costco and Wal-Mart, as well as luxury car dealerships like Porsche, can all be found in Merida. The city’s tranquility, cleanliness and low cost of living have made Merida a popular destination for wealthy families from other Mexican states and have attracted many homebuyers to Flamingo Lakes.

“Merida is a magnet for US retirees who want to live in paradise,” said Laborin. “The low cost of living and new top-tier hospitals allow retirees to live carefree and comfortably on a fixed income.”

For more information, visit http://www.flamingolakes.com/ or call the onsite sales office toll free at (866) 309-4379. Photos of Flamingo Lakes and Merida can be downloaded at http://nelsongilmore.com/merida.