By Ilona Kauremszky

mexico 1All Images: Ilona Kauremszky

Rodrigo Esponda,  Yadira Lopez and Rodolfo Lopez Negrete of the Mexico Tourism Board.

As Toronto was kicking off the Pan Am Games, Mexico didn't want the city forgetting about its favourite sun destination.

Last week the Mexico Tourism Board hosted a spectacular industry soiree at the Royal Ontario Museum, which was attended by agents, tour operators, diplomats and local media.

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Sunwing Travel Group’s Anna Tarkowski and Lawrence Elliott.

One of the destination's biggest attractions has to be its cuisine. Two of Mexico’s top chefs were in the house to explain:  Arturo Fernandes Montes de Ocawas showcasing his octopus ceviche and marinated veal brisket, while 2012 Iron Chef Canada winner Jonatan Gomez Luna Torres was busy stirring a sumptuous soup of Huitlacoche truffle.

Loyalty

The regional director for the Mexico Tourism Board in North America, Rodrigo Esponda, kicked off the evening by thanking the distinguished guests for their years of support. “Tonight here are the best travel partners to Mexico who have been loyal to us throughout the years, sending millions of tourists every year and we want to thank you.”

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Mike Miguel of WestJet and WestJet Vacations and Michael Kohlmaier of Melia Hotels International.

Tourism Updates

Francisco Suarez, Mexico’s Ambassador to Canada, revealed how close to two million Canadian visitors travel to Mexico each year. “From the province of Ontario we have more visitors than from any European country,” he noted, which was followed by a huge applause.

Tourism reps also claimed that tourism to Mexico there is outperforming its global rivals. Whereas world tourism is 4.7 percent (YTD February), Mexico reportedly has more than doubled its air arrivals to 10.8 percent (YTD April).

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“Mexico continues to break records in international tourism,” said Rodolfo Lopez Negrete, CEO for the Mexico Tourism Board. “We are bound to another banner year in 2015.”

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Iron Chef Canada winner Jonatan Gomez Luna Torres, executive chef of Le Chique.

Canada: Mexico’s Priority Market

“Canada is a priority market,” observed Negrete, further noting that Mexico wants to expand what he describes as a market with an untapped potential even more. “Although, we’re happy with the numbers at the first five months of this year--over 1 million Canadians have visited different Mexican destinations.”

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Lift has also contributed to the increase in Canadian travellers. “We have been able to expand air connectivity out of Canada to Mexico from 25 different hubs to 12 different airports throughout the country," he added. "That’s why we have been able to grow at a healthy rate.”

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