Tequila Sunrise

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Guanajuato, Mexico

Mexican folk painting

Lane in Guanajuato, Mexico

Wall patterns, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Q: What are the challenges affecting tourism in Mexico today?

A: Among Mexico's most important challenges are competition from nearby countries that boast similar weather and infrastructure, and a more sophisticated consumer who is looking beyond the beach into unusual and exciting experiences.

Q: How are you dealing with these issues?

A: Our country has a unique culture. As Mexicans, we take it for granted since we live with it on a daily basis. Visitors to Mexico should look beyond the initial lure of perfect weather, spectacular beaches, and temperate seas, and delve into the country's richness. They should look beyond the front door, into our ancient pre-Hispanic customs and legends, and discover our real secrets. There are 54 different languages in Mexico and a variety of religions and customs to go with them. By introducing culture, we are meeting new customer expectations. For example, in the Mundo Maya (The Mayan World), we are developing and promoting different archaeological sites near the major beach resorts so that tourists can learn about our history. We're lining our gateways to these regions and building new roads so they can taste, touch, and feel the 'real' Mexico. The wider the region explored by tourists, the more dispersed the economic benefit and the more attractive the country becomes. . . . The Copper Canyon has a master plan to improve the highway between Creel and San Rafael and construct 1800 new hotel rooms. At Isla Natividad, a megaproject is in the works that will include a grand hotel, a golf course, a yacht club, a spa, a mall, apartments, and villas. . . . There are approximately 20 biosphere reserves throughout the country . . . . The international boom of responsible ecotourism and adventure travel offers a great opportunity for Mexico and we are seizing it. . . . I personally consider casinos a way to strengthen the appeal of our destinations. Hernandez 1997, 21-26