In this context, Travel2latam spoke with Michelle Fridman Hirsch, head of the Secretary of Tourism Development of Yucatán (SEFOTUR).
What are your expectations for WTM this year?
Look, for us the English market is one of the most important, our international markets start with North America and then go directly to Europe which includes France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has important connectivity with Mexico, via Cancún and via Mexico City, both are gateways to reach Mérida, either with one of the many connections that exist from Mexico to the Mérida airport, or by land from Cancun. Here we are, like every year, presenting our offer, our seven magical towns, our Mayan villages, our colonial cities, our gastronomic, cultural, archaeological, nature, adventure, rural, etc. offer, so that more English people come.
What is your perception or your vision of what has happened this season?
Look, for us 2023 has been a great year. A year of challenges because I think 2022 was a year that we did not expect to be so positive. In 2022, the first year after the pandemic, we expected to at least reach the numbers we had left in 2019 prior to the pandemic. And the big surprise is that we not only reached them but surpassed them by far. Then 2022 became the year that the most tourists had arrived or have arrived in our state in history. And this 2023, although we have more challenges, for example there are more open markets, more open destinations, there is a distribution of markets and there are many other challenges, I can tell you that we are currently 17% higher than 2022. So we are returning to break that mark.
Excellent. What news can you tell me about connectivity?
As we have always done, we are looking to strengthen connectivity with different airlines. We just announced, two weeks ago, the incorporation of four international routes, especially with North America, which is where we have the most market, but with the European ones we are constantly working on strengthening the one that is already landing in our neighboring state of Quintana Roo. Don't stop selling the package to experience staying in Yucatán and doing the multi-destination. I think it is the best way to warm up the market to eventually have other types of direct routes.
And what forecast do they have in terms of public and private investments to surprise those tourists who arrive at the destination?
We have not stopped growing in private investment, we are the fourth state with the most private tourism investment in the country and hotels, tourist establishments, restaurants continue to arrive, a growing offer continues to arrive in terms of services, infrastructure, but also in experiences . So far in this administration we have developed more than 250 new tourism products. And, that translates into 365 days in Yucatán, 365 flavors in Yucatán. One can spend two years in Yucatán and never repeat the same activity. So there is a lot to do.
Today we are at a big convention. We know how important it is for you to host an event, a congress, a convention. What is your forecast for what's next?
Well look, we come here to do business, I believe that these fairs are very, very good for the host destinations, in this case London; in the case of Fitur Madrid; and now it is our turn to come as exhibitors, to come to close business with the different actors who are allies.