NOT TO BE MISSED

Mexico 2015 | TOURISM | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas, Secretary of Tourism, on the role of tourism in the national economy, steps to boost international visitors, and domestic tourism.

Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas
BIOGRAPHY
Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas has an educational background in Law and is currently the Secretary of Tourism. Between 2003 and 2006 she was Federal Representative in the 59th Session, President of the Justice and Human Rights Commission, and Secretary to the Government Commission. Between 2009 and 2012 she was Federal Representative in the 61st Session, also continuing her role as Secretary to the Government Commission. Between 2006 and 2008, she was Planning, Development and Institutional Innovation Coordinator for the Attorney General (PGR), and in 2006 was Coordinator of Advisors to the Executive Secretariat for the National Security System of the Secretariat of Federal Public Security (SSP).

What is the significance of the tourism industry for Mexico?

The strategic vision of President Enrique Peña Nieto has recognized tourism as an important tool for development, prosperity, and welfare for Mexico. It represents 8.7% of our GDP, consistently registers a surplus in the balance of payments, employs directly more than three million people, is the biggest employer of young people, the second largest employer of women, and is the fourth source of revenue in foreign exchange. Additionally, tourism helps promote our country for what it really is: modern, vibrant, and in constant transformation.

What steps has the government taken to boost tourism since 2012?

Tourism in Mexico is reinvigorating itself. Since the beginning of this administration, we have undertaken a restructuring of a sector that was experiencing contraction. The National Tourism Policy established four guidelines that set its course towards planning and sectorial transformation, innovation and competitiveness, development and promotion, as well as sustainability and social benefit. Tourism also began to work from a cross-sectional perspective, resulting in the establishment of the Tourist Cabinet, an unprecedented tool that provides an important coordination forum for tourism development in Mexico. In addition, for the first time in history, tourism has been included as one of the strategic sectors of the National Infrastructure Plan. The results for 2014 reflect various actions carried out by Mexico's government through the Ministry of Tourism. With regard to travel facilitation schemes, we have extended the franchise allowed for passengers entering by land. Likewise, we have improved our visa policy by suppressing the requirement for Latin American countries such as Peru, Colombia, Chile and Brazil. This has directly resulted in an increased inflow of tourists. Visitors from Peru have increased by 25% and those from Chile by 15.8%. We also launched the second phase of the Live it to Believe it campaign in the US, Spain, and the UK as well as the #MiMéxico campaign, designed especially for the Hispanic audience resident in the US. Thanks to this, more than 7.1 million American tourists visited Mexico last year, marking an increase of 10.6%, and consolidating Mexico as the most visited destination for tourists from the US.

What strategies are you putting into place to foster domestic tourism?

An important part of tourism comes from the domestic segment. With that in mind, President Peña Nieto has instructed us to create a public policy of national outreach that will allow all Mexicans to travel and discover their own nation. The strategy aims to provide facilities for children, the elderly, the disabled, low-income families, youngsters, and amateur athletes to travel in and get to know Mexico. This is the commitment of the Mexican government; to strengthen tourism by promoting quality, diversification of service. and infrastructural development to foster economic growth that will lead to social benefits, prosperity, and welfare. At the Ministry of Tourism, we will work to help the vision of President Enrique Peña Nieto of a prosperous, inclusive Mexico with greater opportunities that enable greater progress.