Tourism numbers in Riviera Nayarit – and Mexico overall – are up for 2014, said representatives from the Mexico Tourism Board and Riviera Nayarit CVB this week.
The news was shared at a travel media lunch event on Thursday, hosted at Toronto’s Blu Ristorante and Lounge. The centrepiece of the event was a menu by Chef Betty Vazquez, offering guests a selection of Mexican dishes made from ingredients indigenous to Riviera Nayarit, promoting the culinary and cultural history of this Pacific coast region which once featured an important trading centre for Spanish merchants.
Richard Zarkin, PR director of the Riviera Nayarit CVB, said that the first half of the year saw a 21 per cent increase in international arrivals to the region over 2013, with a 27 per cent growth in income as a result – a stark contrast to the period between 2008 and 2011, when arrivals dropped significantly. Zarkin added that the number of arrivals from North America so far this year were more or less evenly split between Canada and the U.S.
“I can brag about it – we’re hot,” joked Zarkin, adding that a number of prominent websites, including The Huffington Post and Oyster, have named Riviera Nayarit as a top destination for 2014. “There’s a very natural love between Canada and Mexico and those are the numbers.”
Backing up that statement is the consistently good traveller feedback that Zarkin receives from tourists to Riviera Nayarit, with factors such as the level of hospitality and safety, as well as the region’s golf opportunities and culture, contributing to those glowing reviews.
Rodrigo Esponda, the Regional Director of the Mexico Tourism Board for North America, shared a similar story, explaining that overall travel to Mexico grew 20 per cent in the first half of 2014, with 1.1 million Canadians venturing to the country between January and July. Other sources contributing to increasing tourist numbers in Mexico are South Korea, Japan (as a result of several Japanese automakers establishing plants in the country) and what Esponda dubbed the ‘Pacific Alliance’ of Chile, Colombia and Peru, responsible for a combined 500,000 visitors to the country in 2014 so far.
With Canada one of the country’s most important sources of international arrivals, Esponda said that the Mexico Tourism Board has invested $5 million to promote the country in Canada this year, including several events and additional marketing materials. The MTB also recently released three new commercials promoting the destinations of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guanajuato.
“We’re trying to communicate that to our visitors – in addition to beaches, you can have a very luxurious and sophisticated travel experience, and you can do it from any corner of Mexico,” said Esponda.
PHOTO: Richard Zarkin, PR director of the Riviera Nayarit CVB (left); Rodrigo Esponda, Regional Director of the Mexico Tourism Board for North America.