By José Antonio Pérez
The proposal to deem tourism an essential activity in Mexico was presented at last week’s virtual meeting of the Executive Tourism Commission of the National Governors Conference (CANAGO), along with various members of the Federal cabinet, including Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero, Health Secretary Jorge Alcocer Varela, as well as Tourism Secretary Miguel Torruco Marqués.
The governors, including Sonora Governor Claudia Pavlovich and Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, made several proposals that led to three agreements:
First – pick up the conversation again with results of the weekly “stoplight” health alert; Second – seek alternatives for each State in order to simultaneously stratify the epidemiology and dependence of the state’s economy on tourism; and Third – instrument protocols under the joint guidance of Sectur (Ministry of Tourism) and IMSS (Social Security Institute).
Mexican Tourism Secretary Torruco Marqués expressed that nationally tourism is one of the hardest hit areas due to the coronavirus, as it represents 8.7% of Mexico’s GDP and the creation of eleven million direct and indirect jobs. He specified that last year Mexico received 45 million international tourists, which is a 9% increase over 2018, and economic revenue of over 24 billion dollars. He added that tourism had the highest positive commercial balance, at 14.7 billion dollars, while tourist spending in the country topped 142 billion dollars.
Within this context, Torruco Marqués requested that Health Secretary Jorge Alcocer Varela and Deputy Secretary Hugo López-Gatell, the latter who has been the country’s front man during this health emergency, to reconsider tourism as an essential activity both for the good of the economy, as well as for the good of so many jobs currently at risk.
He added the tourism industry is one that must be cared for, protected, and above all reevaluated in order to move forward through the problems caused by the global pandemic.
Olga Sánchez Cordero, Secretary of the Interior, agreed tourism should resume, though adapt to a series of changes to ensure it is done as safely as possible. She maintained her commitment and openness to dialog with the governors and mayor of Mexico City, in designing strategies to recover tourism activities during Mexico’s “New Normal”, while urging all to continue to work together to reactivate different parts of the Mexican economy on which millions of family depend.