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Sinclair and Ruiz is a consultancy that creates integrated local, national and international marketing strategies


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Canadian Travel to Mexico Positioned to Break Record.

We recently had the opportunity to interview Cesar Mendoza, Regional Director for Canada for the Mexican Tourism Board, about growth in the number of Canadians traveling to Mexico. Mendoza said that numbers have been steadily increasing this year, and by the end of the year they expect a record-breaking volume of travelers. That underscores the confidence Canadian travelers have in Mexico as a tourist destination. Cesar also noted the challenges that Mexico faces and the way to overcome them; as well as expected tendencies such as focusing on the segments of culture and traditions of Mexico, to give  Canadian travelers unique experiences that will inspire them. To conclude the interview, he told us what the Mexican Tourism Board expects for 2019.
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As background information, it is worth noting that Canada is an important source of visitors to Mexico (datatur), second only to the United States since 2006. Canadians not only travel to beach destinations but flock to cultural festivals, because of the ancestral abundance and their values. Therefore, according to Cesar “Mexico will keep creating/developing experiences to traditional and non-traditional destinations, tailor-made for new generations of travelers such as millennials”.

What are the results for 2018 in terms of numbers, and what do you expect for the end of the season?

According to the latest report from the Mexican Tourism Board, between January-August 2018, Mexico received  12.6 million international visitors by air. That represents a 5% increase over the same period in  2017. During that same period, 1.5 million Canadian visitors traveled to Mexico by air, which is a 15% increase over to 2017. By the end of 2018, for the first time ever, Mexico expects to welcome the arrival of over  2 million Canadian visitors, expecting a final number of 2.2 million, that would represent an increase of almost 12% compared to 2017.

Challenges that Mexico faces for 2019?

There are different factors (negative and positive) that affect the flow of tourists to our country. Among the positive factors that benefit an increase in the flow of Canadians to México is the exchange rate (CAD vs USD), making it more attractive to travel to Mexico than any other destination in the United States. The economic factor of a possible recession causes Canadians to react in advance and postpone or change travel plans.

On the other hand, the immigration rhetoric in the USA has fostered a change in Canadian travel plans for many who now decide to visit Mexico instead. Another factor that affects the tourism industry, are natural disasters like the hurricanes that unfortunately affected some Caribbean islands. That creates a positive flow of travelers to Mexico from Canada and other countries.

The biggest challenge that our country must face for the 2018-2019 season, is the perception of insecurity. Mexico makes very important and significant efforts, to fight groups that negatively affect the country’s image; and at the same time, we work to communicate events and news in the right context. For example, sensationalist notes that do not specify the exact location of negative events, immediately impact reservations to tourist destinations in Mexico.  Canadian travelers are very objective in comparison to US travelers at the moment of making travel decisions. However, negative news affects the image and in most cases, the final destination choice.

What are the predictions and tendencies for travel to Mexico in 2019?

Mexico’s commercial allies, especially airlines and tour operators, continue growing business ties with Mexico.  Our forecast for 2019 shows an increase in the number of seats per plane to Mexico by 10% versus 2018. Recently the Mexican airline Interjet started operations in the Canadian market with flights to Cancun and Mexico City from the main airports in Canada. This has resulted in an increase of an additional 184,000 seats for 2018. The low-cost airline Swoop just announced flights from YHM airport in Hamilton, Ontario to Cancun and Puerto Vallarta starting in January 2019; and on January the 12th they will start operating a flight from YXX in Abbotsford to Puerto Vallarta and on January the 20th to Mazatlán.

In 2019, the Mexican Tourism Board will continue with their strategy of distinguishing beach and sun destinations from others, and highlighting their competitive advantages and emphasizing the value that they offer through the segments such as culture, gastronomy among other. Equally, Mexico will continue developing new experiences in our traditional and non-traditional destinations, to tailor to the needs of new generations, specifically “millennials.” We are not only looking to increase the number of travelers, as we would love to see every traveler venture out of their hotels and enjoy the wonderful attractions and delightful  Mexican food.

What is Cesar Mendoza’s opinion?

Canada is our second largest source of international travelers to Mexico after the U.S. In 2017, 1.9 million plus Canadians arrived in Mexico, that translates in an increase of 9% more than the previous year, as I mentioned we expect to close 2018 with a 12% increase. Air Canada, Aeromexico, Air Transat, Interjet, Sunwing and Westjet are some of our main commercial allies that operate between Canada and Mexico on a regular basis from 23 airports in Canada and 13 Mexican destinations.

Due to the geographic characteristics of Canada (the second largest country in the world), the cultural characteristics of each region and the French language in the Province of Quebec, Mexico’s Tourism Board features three offices in Canada which are based in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. We work very closely with the local tourism industry and analyze aspects and tendencies that affect the flow of tourism.

Having a presence in the three main regions of Canada allows us to take the correct actions in conjunction with our head office in Mexico.

Wrapping up…

We would like to thank Cesar for taking the time to answer our questions and sharing this valuable and interesting information.

The responses outlined above support the premise that market intelligence is crucial for decision-making around defining and developing the best marketing strategy. By doing this we can determine with precision how to best fit into the market to meet the needs of consumers, identify areas of opportunity for market penetration and for market development, among others. All of that will help to increase and retain customers, generate revenue, and generate leads. Furthermore interpreting market intelligence is key for long-term results.

Mauricio Ruiz Arnaut
Director of Business Development.

 

 

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Opinion: The Future of Affordable Housing in Vancouver

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The real estate industry has many parts, and one of the most interesting sides of the industry is the one run by non-profits and charities. In Vancouver, where the high cost of living and a  housing supply that does not meet demand have made it the least affordable real estate market in North America, housing run by non-profits is all the more important. It is also a type of real estate I never gave a second thought to when I worked in the private sector. Today though, I see how non-profits have become indispensable in delivering homes to thousands of people the private market has left behind. The crazy thing is that people in need of affordable housing range from those with very limited income to professionals that would be considered to be earning a good living by standards elsewhere in the world – or even elsewhere in Canada.
The challenge for non-profits/charities is knowing whether to/how to expand, partner, further penetrate the market or transfer assets to organizations better positioned to meet the challenges of the current market. Building is a long and costly process. On top of that you can add a tax regime that does not clearly recognize the need for affordable housing providers to build-up the cash reserves needed to maintain and replace real estate assets (think redevelopment or roofs and elevator replacements). It’s not like after responsibly breaking even over a number of years you can quickly raise $800,000 + to fix leaking pipes causing unsafe moldy environments for tenants. After all, being “not for profit” does not mean you can be “for loss” when people depend on you for shelter.
Many organizations are looking to rise to the challenge of building more affordable housing – including some community-based organizations that have never operated housing. In order to do this, most are looking to form strategic partnerships. Partnerships in this realm must take into account needs that go beyond building homes. It requires building capacity for effective long-term management of assets and clients under circumstances that are more complex than those faced by the private market. Furthermore, not every partnership is appropriate. Even with powerful partners, many longstanding operators are struggling to maintain the housing stock they have.

Entering into the (no-for-profit) business of building and operating affordable housing in today’s market requires the willingness to look for non-traditional partners. Even though there are promising initiatives from the provincial and federal governments, long-term success will still require taking the time to vet and let go of potential partnerships and funding offers until the right ones are found. Entering the realm of affordable housing requires a commitment to creativity and perseverance. It also requires stepping back and moving away from knee-jerk reactions in order to plan for long-term solutions.

In Vancouver, several organizations are now in the process of delivering affordable units. There is still a huge and growing need.  Yet, the situation and top-of-mind interest from the community is setting the stage for non-market housing providers to become a driving force in the delivery of housing solutions.

Carolina Ibarra, BA, MSSc


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How important is it to develop strategic relationships and contacts inside target markets?

The importance of making strategic contacts is fundamental to success – particularly when expanding into new territory. Relationships facilitate market penetration, assist in identifying new audiences, and measuring product performance. Partnerships can be formal or informal and require different levels of commitment in order to keep the relationship beneficial.

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Rahul Samant CEO of Rehabtronics told us that… “it’s very critical to establish strong sales and distribution channels as well as relationships with key opinion leaders”. Cindy Collins founder of Mining Technology Partners noted relationships are …”  huge and the focus of [her] company. [They] put providers together with contacts in Mexico and help them with distribution or [creating a] sales network.  Not only this, but to find references and the who’s who of using your products… this industry [mining] is very dependent on the usual early adopters.  We are often asked for who is using our customers’ products, especially for the more innovative or game changing products” . Alejandro Godoy founder of  Seafood Business Solutions highlighted “…it is very important to develop relationships with key decision makers, specialty seafood buyers in new markets.” Carlos Escobosa Commercial and Administrative Director of  The Residences at Solaz observed that “contacts in target markets offer a direct line to what consumers in those markets want, and most importantly, how to reach them in a cost-efficient way”.

This article is part 2 of 3.
In case you missed Part 1: Top 4 Challenges to Business Development.


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Top 4 Challenges to Business Development.

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There will always be a variety of challenges to face in order to achieve successful business development. In pursuit of fresh perspectives, we interviewed business people from different industries including Fisheries, Med-Tech, Mining and Travel & Leisure.  In the first of a series of posts on the subject, we explore the answers to our initial question: What is the biggest challenge faced by your industry today?

The top 4 responses – in no particular order- were the following:

  •     Innovation
  •      Sustainability
  •      Regulatory Barriers
  •      Security/Image

What is interesting is that the challenges identified by each respondent are not mutually exclusive to the sectors. In fact, each of the industries represented faces more than one at any given time. Cindy Collins founder of Mining Technology Partners, identified innovation as the primary challenge to the mining industry. She noted that “…the need for innovation is great due to minerals being more difficult to find and financing being in other industries such as tech…  This is great for innovative providers of technology and services and the combination of the two”. Alejandro Godoy founder of Seafood Business Solutions, identified sustainability as “…the current low captures of wild seafood has increased all seafood prices… and aquaculture needs fish-meal to farm species. Seafood needs better sustainable standards to help future industry growth”. Rahul Samant, CEO of Rehabtronics said that “…in the medical device industry there are many challenges: Regulatory, Export barriers, R&D costs, health care procurement and adoption… Its very difficult to say one challenge that is the biggest, but if I had to I would say the pace of Health Care adoption which is slow in-part due to regulatory barriers”.  Carlos Escobosa Commercial and Administrative Director of The Residences at Solaz identified overall security and image issues that affect Mexico as a whole”.

The first step to overcoming such issues is identifying them. That also allows companies to seize on any areas of opportunity that present themselves by dealing with them in an effective way. Some barriers are more complex and systemic such as threats to environmental sustainability. Failing to address challenges early on risks creating unnecessary obstacles or complications in the future.

This article is part 1 of 3. Continue reading