Friday, 3 March 2017

MEXICO: Tourists Canceling Mexico Trips Tour And Travel Agents Say

Eight percent of MAST Travel Network agents have clients who have recently canceled trips to Mexico, according to a member survey.
"The intensifying issues of immigration, the border wall, and trade are, in my view, going to cause some customers to think twice about a vacation in Mexico if they feel they are not welcome," said John Werner, president and COO of MAST.

"I don't believe anyone should feel that way, but based on our member survey, agents are hearing concerns from their clients."
The survey was conducted last week, and 166 members of the network responded.

Of the agents who reported clients that had canceled Mexico trips in the previous two weeks, 20% said they rebooked another destination, and 80% said their clients postponed traveling.

MAST reported that 43% of agents said clients have expressed concern about upcoming trips to Mexico.

MAST said 52% of agents have had customers say they don't want to go to Mexico when inquiring about a vacation. And, 49% said clients have expressed concern about traveling anywhere outside of the United States, not just to Mexico.

Werner said Mexico is MAST's No. 1 destination.

"Since these disputes are not going away, I feel business will be impacted," he said. "It remains to be seen how much. But we are not waiting to see how this plays out before taking action."

Last week, MAST said it held a conference call with preferred suppliers, the Mexico Tourism Board and ASTA to discuss a plan of promoting travel to Mexico.

"While a number of political events are affecting the travel industry worldwide, my concern today is Mexico," Werner said on the call. "MAST wants to work with our preferred suppliers serving Mexico in an effort to not let political events cause a big drop in American vacationers and visitors to Mexico, which all our livelihoods depend on in some way."

Werner proposed an action plan including a letter-writing campaign to legislators that are responsible for travel and tourism issues; making a list of talking points for agents to use when discussing Mexico with clients; gathering photos and testimonials from clients enjoying Mexico; and using a portion of marketing and advertising dollars on a campaign called "Why Go to Mexico."

"The conference call conveyed mixed observations from the company leaders," MAST said in a statement. "Some agreed to addressing the situation, while others did not believe this was a huge concern."

MAST said Ana Sofia Lanczyner, Midwest director of the Mexico Tourism Board, pointed out that her organization has started a new marketing campaign, "Welcome to Mexico," MAST said.