Fine cuisine and Cirque du Soleil to tempt tourists

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Event organizer Rick Beucking, Air Canada's James Howey, and Rodrigo Espona and Rodrigo Acosta Gomez of the Mexico Tourism Board.

By Vickie Sam Paget

Some 180 travel professionals from across the Lower Mainland had their taste buds tickled at an exclusive Mexico Tourism Board dinner at BC’s Richmond Country Club this week.

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The delicious four-course dinner crafted by Riviera Nayarit chef Betty Vazquez followed a golf tournament, trade show and cocktail reception.

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Welcoming guests, Rodrigo Esponda, regional director for North America at the Mexico Tourism Board, said that the annual tournament and dinner was “one of the most important events that we have in North America”.

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He went on to stress the importance of the Canadian market: “We are consistently supporting the Canadian market because it is the second largest market for tourism to Mexico,” he said, jokingly adding that “one Canadian is worth three Americans… As they stay three times longer and spend three times as much!”

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Joking aside, he explained that the tourist board is investing $10 million in the Canadian marketplace during 2015 through a whole plethora of co-op marketing campaigns, trade shows, events, TV commercials and special PR events across seven key markets.

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“We are going to be launching some very interesting initiatives. One is that we are supporting Mexican cuisine; the second one is that we have been working secretly with the Cirque du Soleil. They are developing a show just about Mexico; about its culture, art and hidden places. We have been getting artists, painters and historians involved and the whole show is dedicated just to Mexico.”

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The minister of tourism for Sinaloa, Frank Cordova, also took to the podium to share some good news.

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“Tourism is doing very well in Mexico and very, very well in our state. In last two years tourism is up over 30 percent in our state. We were down in Mazatlan about 15 percent, but we’ve recovered about 10 points of that, and hopefully we’ll recover what’s left this year.”

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He went on to explain that Mazatlan—a region that is home to some 5,000 Canadians—is hosting a Country and Western music series this fall, which will feature six of Canada’s best Country artists.

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AeroMexico market manager Ivan Vukov also took to the stage to highlight the airline’s new daily service from Vancouver to Mexico City, which kicks off on December 9.

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And Moneyback director general, Danielle van der Kwartel, took to the stage to explain that the company offers Canadian clients a refund of 8.9 per cent on their shopping spend. They just have to submit their invoices at one of the company’s 55 service locations across the country. The good news for agents? You can win US$300 by providing your clients with a refund form before they depart for Mexico.

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