TBY talks to two directors in the sector on the potential for Monterrey and Cancún to become business tourism locations and the importance of collaboration to attract international events.
What sectors does Cancún Center recognize as key fields to boost the overall number of annual events?
JAVIER GÁMEZ BAUTISTA Nowadays, about 70% of our congresses are medical events, and we would definitely like to boost the number of scientific congresses at Cancún Center in the near future. For example, we will be hosting the Primatology Congress very soon, in which experts will unite to talk about the latest scientific advancements in the field. Hosting congresses is like winning the right to organize the Olympic Games or the World Cup; it takes years of hard work, and the concessions are granted years in advance. Our concept citywide is very innovative within the sector, and it means that the whole city is involved in hosting conferences, congresses, and conventions. For that reason, we created Cancún Alliance, Meetings and Conventions to boost future vision and teamwork to position Mexico and the city within the top meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) destinations. Overall, there are about 45 companies—hotels, entertainment centers, and restaurants—involved in this alliance, supporting economically the bids to host international events, and working together to promote Cancún as a business tourism destination. Also, I would like to emphasize the negative stigma the name Cancún carries when talking about hosting scientific and medical events, as it is a luxury and distracting destination for participants. For that reason, we are implementing different measures to change this perception.
When you’re bidding for major events, you’re competing against other cities around the world. What does Monterrey bring to the table?
GONZALO ESCAMEZ SADA We emphasize the cultural aspects of Mexico, which are very attractive for business tourism. We also have the necessary infrastructure for these events in terms of connectivity, airports and roads. We boast a wide selection of associated hotels and a very professional team. Our board members are constantly working toward developing Cintermex as a global corporation in order to increase revenues, reduce costs, and make wise investments. Cintermex is also very flexible; we have an exhibition area and the right suppliers to service the business tourism industry. Our team has been with the organization for many years, and is experienced in staging events. The board members require professionalism measured by our counterparts in the US. Our accountability is measured by our success, and we do whatever it takes to meet our customers’ deadlines. We deliver a fast and reliable service, which has solidified our excellent reputation in the business community worldwide.
What’s the overall potential for MICE tourism in your city?
JGB There is huge potential in MICE tourism, for Mexico is one of the top 10 touristic destinations. We should work toward matching both fields, as it offers clear future benefits. Currently, Cancún hosts 30% of Mexico’s MICE tourism, and I believe there is plenty of room to grow in the near future because such conferences and meetings are mostly held in hotels, and in Cancún you can find some of the best hotel chains in the world, which have top MICE facilities and are currently hosting events almost daily. Having said that, I think we should work toward hosting more international exhibitions in Cancún. Such events tend to be held in industrial cities, or cities close to big industrial markets with good transport connections, whereas touristic cities do not tend to be top destinations in this field.
GES I strongly believe that Monterrey is the best choice for business tourism in Mexico. We don’t have any beaches or pyramids, but in the business category we are well positioned. Cintermex in Monterrey is dynamic in terms of expanding the size of its facilities and taking on new projects. Our motivation stems from being a non-profit organization that would rather invest than turn a profit. Apart from advertising, we are investing $50 million in our new projects. Our organization participates with the Mexican government and the tourism sector to promote business tourism. We intend to help the country conduct more business, and as a non-profit organization, it is our social responsibility to the community to attract better events to
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