wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07MEXICO347
2007-01-24 13:19:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Mexico
Cable title:  

MEXICO TOURISM SECRETARY: NO WORRIES ON WHTI

Tags:   ECON  EAIR  CASC  CPAS  EIND  KHLS  MX 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO6898
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #0347 0241319
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241319Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5060
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 2273
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAHLA/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
						UNCLAS MEXICO 000347 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAIR CASC CPAS EIND KHLS MX
SUBJECT: MEXICO TOURISM SECRETARY: NO WORRIES ON WHTI


UNCLAS MEXICO 000347

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAIR CASC CPAS EIND KHLS MX
SUBJECT: MEXICO TOURISM SECRETARY: NO WORRIES ON WHTI



1. (U) Summary: The Mexican Secretary of Tourism has said
that the impact of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
(WHTI) on international tourism to Mexico will be minor.
According to estimates by the Secretariat of Tourism (Sectur),
Mexico's revenue losses from WHTI will be less than 3 percent
thanks to public outreach programs implemented by the Secretariat
across the United States. The President of the National Business
Tourism Council agreed that, so far, weather has posed a greater
threat than the passport requirement. The Consular section only
received four applications on the first day of implementation
from travelers who were denied boarding. Sectur anticipates that
the final phase of implementation involving land border crossings
will be the most problematic. Nevertheless, any decrease in
tourism will conflict with President Felipe Calderon's ambitious
goals for the sector. End Summary.


2. (U) Secretary of Tourism Rodolfo Elizondo has predicted
that only 318,000 of the 5.3 million U.S. tourists will cancel
trips to Mexico due to lack of a passport. He also said that
Mexico expects to lose only USD 254 million of its annual USD 12
billion in international tourism revenue due to the new regulations.
He estimated that only 6 percent of U.S. air passengers to Mexico
lack a passport.


3. (U) He attributed the low level of travelers without
passports to the extensive education drive led by the Mexican
Tourism Promotion Council (CPTM). CPTM, which has offices in many
large U.S. cities, spread the word to locales that are most likely
to send vacationers to Mexico. They also enlisted the assistance
of travel agents, hotels, airlines, and other private sector players
to make sure U.S. citizens were aware of the new requirements in
time to get the necessary documentation.


4. (U) Gordon Viberg, president of the National Business Tourism
Council, told Econoff that, so far, WHTI has not had an effect on
bookings for February, March and April. Actual booking figures for
January and February, as well as better estimates for the busy
spring break season, however, will be unavailable until March.
He said that the industry is still recovering from a slow down in
bookings for December and January due to a combination of unusually
warm weather in central and northeastern U.S., coupled with bad
weather in the West. Industry insiders are citing this weather
for the slow-down, not WHTI.


5. (U) On January 22 and 23, Acting American Citizen Services
(ACS) chief reviewed the new WHTI requirements with airline
representatives at Mexico City's Benito Juarez International
Airport. The airlines were ready to implement the new rules.
Only one airline knew of any grace period during which those
without proper documentation would still be allowed entry.
The Embassy passport unit in Mexico City only had four
applications on the first day from persons who were denied
boarding because they lacked a passport.


6. (U) The Secretariat of Tourism, along with major industry
players, feels that WHTI will not have as large of a negative
effect as previously feared. While some resorts may see a small
drop in customers, the industry as a whole will easily weather the
storm. Of greater concern is the passport requirement for land
travel since more than half of U.S. visitors to Mexico cross the
land border.


7. (U) Mexico's tourism industry has already had its share
of stumbling blocks with recent natural disasters along the coasts,
election protests in the capital and political violence in Oaxaca.
Tourism figures for the first nine months of 2006 show a 2.2 percent
drop in revenue and a 4.6 percent decrease in visitors. This
experience conflicts with new President Felipe Calderon's goal to
turn Mexico into the 5th ranking world tourism power during his
six-year administration, a feat that even Secretary Elizondo himself
believes improbable. While the WHTI may cause only a small
reduction in visitors and revenue, any drop in tourism is a step
away from where the Mexican government wants to be.


Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity
GARZA