Latin America remains an under-visited destination for Chinese tourists, mostly due to a lack of direct flights and the perception that it’s an unsafe destination. That doesn’t mean that adventurous globetrotters aren’t willing to experience what those countries have to offer, and Mexico believes it’s concocted the right plan to attract those travelers seeking new adventures.
On March 15, Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism Miguel Torruco Marqués held a press conference to unveil a new tourism campaign aimed at Chinese travelers called “Knocking at the Door.”
Marqués said that Chinese travelers are interested in activities beyond resorts, such as visiting rainforests, exploring colonial architecture, and learning about pre-Spanish history, and the tourism campaign would help promote tours to archaeological destinations like Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza. At this time, however, no specific plans have been announced, but more could be revealed at the nation’s tourism fair, Tianguis Turistico, which opens April 7.
Mexico hopes that it can make travel through the country easier with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s $6.5 billion signature infrastructure project El Tren Maya (the Mayan Train). The railway will run over 900 miles from beach resorts in Cancun to the Mayan archeological site Palenque. Construction on the rail line began in December 2018 and is expected to be completed in six years. About half of the 8,000 daily passengers on the train are expected to be tourists.
Currently, Air China, China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, and Hainan Airlines operate direct flights to Mexico City, along with United, ANA, Air Canada, and Aeromexico, which operate flights between first-tier cities in China and the Mexican capital.
The nation’s destination marketing organization, Visit Mexico, has a website in Mandarin to provide information to Chinese tourists, but its official Weibo account has minimal engagement despite more than 100,000 followers, and its official WeChat account has been inactive since 2017. Without the ease of social media interaction with potential travelers, Mexico may have a more difficult time increasing arrivals.
In the meantime, Mexico will have to rely the reputation of its cultural sites and museums, such as the National Anthropology Museum (Museo Nacional de Antropología) and the Museum of the Palace of Fine Arts (Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes) in Mexico City.
Mexico welcomed about 100,000 Chinese tourists in 2017, an increase of 16 percent from 2016. The country has not set a target for this year. For now, the Secretary of Tourism will handle promotions, but Marqués noted that Mexican states will travel to China as part of the promotion in the future.