The Business Year

Miguel Torruco Marqués

MEXICO - Tourism

At the Center

Secretary of Tourism, Mexico City

Bio

Miguel Torruco Marqués graduated from the Mexican Tourism School, where he earned a degree in hotel and restaurant management and wrote his thesis on “The Mexican Association of Hotels and Motels as a Fundamental Tool for Sector Consolidation.“ He studied hotel management at the University of Cornell in Ithaca, New York and participated in the Sixth Regional Course on Tourism Market Research at the Inter-American Tourism Training Center (CICATUR) of the Organization of American States (OAS). In academia, he served as Professor and Deputy Director of the Mexican School of Tourism. Soon after, he founded his own school, the Pan American School of Hospitality (EPH). He is currently the Secretary of Tourism of Mexico City.

What is your incoming strategy to support the government’s ambitious tourism efforts? Tourism activity is strategic for the entire country, and I would like to remind people that Miguel Ángel […]

What is your incoming strategy to support the government’s ambitious tourism efforts?

Tourism activity is strategic for the entire country, and I would like to remind people that Miguel Ángel Manzera, when taking possession of his new position as governor of Mexico City in December 2012, was the first authority to state that he would make the development of the tourism sector one of his main strategic ambitions. A month later, we had already formalized such ambitious plans with a sector agreement. I was asked to put together the best team of professionals to accomplish the government’s goals. One of our main priorities is to reduce the bureaucratic process and any legal hurdles, as well as to make sure we all are in the same boat. Mexico City is the most visited tourism destination in the country with 12.3 million tourists per year, and 19% of them are foreigners. In this context, 35% of the foreign tourists come, mainly, from the US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Spain, the UK, France, Italy, and Germany. At the same time, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of Russian tourists coming to Mexico City. Overall, foreign tourists spend $4 billion, and the Mexican population benefits from such activity with around Ps57 billion. However, Quintana Roo is the leading destination in the country in terms of foreign visitors. Today, tourism represents 8% of the city’s GDP, and generates around 1 million jobs. Some other interesting facts are that the city has 605 hotels that currently offer 49,400 beds, and the average occupancy rate stands at 65%, a little over the national average (58%). In this context, most of our visitors come to the city during the week, for they are here for business purposes. For that reason, we need to increase the overall number of visitors during the weekends by promoting our historical sites, monuments, and gastronomy. According to Forbes, we are the fourth gastronomic destination worldwide, and we are the second city in the world in terms of the largest network of museums, only behind London. At the same time, we feel the need to integrate the tourism products Mexico City offers. These are our main short-term goals, and I believe that in the near future, we will also benefit from better bilateral relations with the US and Canada. In this context, we plan to implement a very ambitious marketing and PR campaign at both the national and international level to make sure that everybody knows about how much the country has changed. I would also like to praise the great work the authorities have carried out by making key areas of the city available for tourism purposes, which has enabled authorities to restore areas of the city and change their image. This entire strategy will contribute to consolidate the position of Mexico City as the gateway to the entire country. We believe we can attract larger numbers of foreign tourists, especially from Russia and China, and that will help us to bring up the overall number of visitors to over 12.5 million per year.

What do you think is the best strategy to improve security perceptions in Mexico City among the international community?

Security is a national and international priority, and Mexico City enjoys high levels of security, as proven by recent trends of Mexican people moving to the big city. In addition, we have an extensive network of security people and CCTV professionals working 24/7. The crime rate in Mexico affects nine in 100,000 people, and that is rather low as compared to many metropolitan areas. However, the security stigma and international image is over-exaggerated because of many media reports, among other things. For that reason, we invite people to come here and find out for themselves.

What is the potential behind the MICE tourism segment for Mexico and how can that contribute to attract foreign investment?

We have five multi-function conference centers, two of them at the highest international level. Over the last few years, we have become a more relevant MICE destination, jumping into the international rankings to the top 30. We have experienced an important growth in the number of such events held in the city. Our mission now is to diversify this product from a cultural and social point of view in order to become more competitive.

“Security is a national and international priority.”

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