Mexico Wants Tourists to Head for the Border

NEW YORK — The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) is launching a $10 million multimedia ad campaign to break in the U.S. and Canada next week targeting travelers with the slogan: “Mexico — Closer than Ever.”

“We want to remind people that Mexico is part of North America and is accessible by car or a short flight from major U.S. gateways,” said Leticia Navarro, Mexico’s secretary of tourism.

Like other tourist destinations, Mexico is feeling the effects of Sept. 11. Prior to the events of that date, the country had expected to top 2000’s figure of 20 million international visitors and $8 billion in tourism spending. But occupancy has since dropped to the point where Mexico’s 430,000 hotel rooms are less than half full, according to the tourism bureau.

The campaign, overseen by MTB’s internal marketing division, will appear on the Weather Channel, History Channel and other TV outlets; radio, print and the Web. The spending raises Mexico’s marketing budget for the year to more than $35 million. That figure does not include campaigns being promoted by hotels and destination sites in the country, according to Navarro. He said MTB plans to add another $5 million to its marketing budget in 2002.