According to Pablo Azcárraga, chairman of the National Tourist Business Council (CNET), the completion of the Mayan Train with funding from the Promotion Tourism Board of Mexico (CPTM) could represent certain death for the country’s tourism.
Although the idea of the Mayan Train is an attractive one, we do not agree that the project should be financed with public funding gathered through Non-Residents Rights (DNR), stated the businessman at a press conference.
Most of the CPTM’s resources come from the DNR, a tariff that is charged to all foreign tourists entering the country by plane, which left an income of 6.7 billion pesos in 2017.
“If all the resources from the DNR are used for the Mayan Train project, we would have to cancel all advertising and promotion campaigns in the tourist sector for the next 25 years, which would mean certain death for tourism in Mexico,” Azcárraga stressed.
The CNET and a projection from the Anáhuac University have anticipated an influx of 43 million tourists during the present year, which translates in an income of 22 billion US dollars from foreign visitors.
“If Mexico cuts tourism promotion, this could lead us to lose around 20 million tourists this year. We would also lose many of the 80 million Mexicans traveling every year within the country. The economical activity would be completely interrumpted,” Azcárraga commented.
The businessman denied to be acquainted with Gabriela Cámara, who was appointed to become the director of CPTM by President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, he also thought it very difficult for businessmen to invest in the Maya Train, given its overall low profitability.
The Maya Train was projected for the 2018-2024 period by López Obrador during the month of November 2017, contemplating a railway line of 900 kilometers.
However, the President-elect has recently informed that the plan would expand to 1,500 kilometers in order to cover stops in the states of Campeche and Yucatán, in addition to those of Quintana Roo, Chiapas, and Tabasco.
López Obrador revealed that Mexico’s Government would cover a proportion of the funding needed for the construction of the Mayan Train “with money collected from tourist taxes, which represent 7,000 million pesos a year,” leaving parts of this project in the hands of the private sector.
From Azcárraga’s point, the future Secretary of Tourism, Miguel Torruco, will face great challenges to position Mexico as one of the leaders of international tourism. He will also have to diversify the market and continue to stimulate investment.
SMT Newsroom with information from El Universal