BRAULIO ARSUAGA LOSADA

Mexico 2021 | TOURISM | INTERVIEW

CNET is looking into strengthening the Mexico brand and better use technology to improve connectivity and marketing.

Braulio Arsuaga Losada
BIOGRAPHY

Braulio Arsuaga Losada is a prominent entrepreneur in the tourism industry. He has a degree in business administration and an MBA from the Southern Methodist University. He is currently director general of Grupo Presidente and a board member for Grupo Gigante, Fundación Gigante and Novag Infancia. His participation as a panelist in national and international forums has been recognized by a variety of organizations. In 2020, he was elected as President of CNET, an organization that encompasses 96% of the tourism companies in the country.

What initiatives and strategies are you using at CNET to ease the situation in the tourism sector?

In Mexico, tourism previously accounted for 8.7% of GDP and employed 4.5 million people, mainly young adults and women. We have created several strategies in terms of the private sector. One was the legislative proposals we made to the government to convert legislative initiatives into law. One such law was the Foreign Investment Regulation because in Mexico, the foreign owners of beach lines are through seizures, and this makes it more expensive. We want to remove this restriction in order to allow foreigners to become owners, thus stimulating investment. We also mentioned foreign investment in airlines, the regulation of the provision of digital platform services, labor benefits, tax incentives, and the deductibility of consumption in restaurants. In addition, we promoted the Emerging National Alliance for Tourism, which several important private stakeholders in Mexico have since joined. We wanted to get out ahead of this new way of looking at tourism through health protection. Mexico's hotels have a great reputation, and we should have more and improved facilities regarding security, focus on biosecurity, and processes to prevent infection. We aim to take advantage of technology in order to harness competitiveness in destinations, connectivity, and all the processes related to facilitating entry into the country, since the airline industry is currently suffering, and we cannot conceive of tourism without connectivity, never mind mobility. We also need to look into the issue of promotion, because it has been lost, and by this, I mean not only having a strategy to strengthen the Mexico brand, but also a theme of crisis management and containment as well as public relations. The alliance includes this within the 15 legislative proposals that we have created.

What is your vision for the future of tourism? What will be the result of this transformation that Mexico's tourism sector is undergoing?

With so many fewer tourists, we have to accept that the industry must change, and this has put us on alert. This year it will be difficult to create expectations because we do not know what will happen tomorrow, we do not know which countries will open their borders, or which ones will institute quarantines. International visitor revenues will be 45% lower than the 2019 figure, while our internal tourism figures will be 26% lower. It is complicated to talk about tourism in one country when it is changing all over the world. 2021 will also be bad for Mexico, but our country has such an important tourist vocation, natural attributes, diversity, and geographic location.

CNET proposed to use its hotel and infrastructure facilities as vaccination centers. What follow-up has been given to this proposal?

The industry can support this effort, such as with vaccines, and the facilities of the entire tourism industry should be available for vaccination drives. The government's vaccination drive is going slowly. If our main markets, which are the US and Canada, do not come, it will be a difficult situation. We should learn from those countries that are well ahead in terms of the vaccination process.

What is your outlook for the sector?

This industry is extremely important, and we cannot afford to lose our way, as it is an engine for the Mexican economy, and we are experiencing rough times. At the end of the day, we will need two or three years to recover. We have put forward a series of points to help the industry recover, including ensuring air connectivity and putting industrial workers at the top of the vaccination list. This has caused something of a stir, but it is an industry in which we cannot afford to lose more.