Posts by: María Pellicer

María Pellicer is an editor, writer, but mostly, keen traveller. Editor-in-Chief of Travesías Magazine for the past seven years, Maria travels the world looking for stories. She is passionate about music, architecture and literature, among many other things. A Japan enthusiast, María wishes she could live anywhere between Sydney, Mexico City, Tokyo and Oslo. Top three bucket list wishes: learn to dive, see gorillas and travel to central Africa.

Mexico Facing its Future

Mexico Facing its Future

Welcome back to ILTM North America. One more year has gone by and a lot of things have changed in Mexico during these past few months—don’t worry, our food is as good as usual! After last year’s edition, a big part of the country was still struggling to recover after the earthquake. Mexico City definitely changed after September 19th. Many of its neighbourhoods have radically changed given the amount of people moving out of the most affected areas. Those first months were hard but a year later, it seems the capital has found its old rhythm and hopes are coming back while most of the buildings have been restored or torn down.

Something similar happened after the July election. The uncertainty that prevailed the months prior was quickly changed for a newfound hope. The triumph of López Obrador was feared by many sectors of society, but after the pacific ambience that followed his win even the most sceptical seem a bit open to change. For the first time, in quite some time, it feels like the whole country is on the verge of a deep and much needed transformation and this inevitably brings hope and positivity. That’s exactly why this is Mexico’s best time for the travel industry.

Before the elections many Mexicans were very cautious with their travel plans, but now the market feels more relaxed and Mexicans are ready to make plans again. Canada still remains very strong as an alternative to the United States and China, Japan and Korea are seen as the new places to explore in Asia. Vancouver and Whistler have become a new favourite likely because of the mix between nature and urban vibes that can be enjoyed in both, combined with the advantage of a no visa policy for Mexicans. Japan is still a big favourite, with many already on their second or third trip, while the rest of Asia remains as the dream destination of many, with Thailand, Bali, Singapore and Hong Kong high on the list.

In terms of incoming tourism, our popularity keeps going strong, with visitors from all over the world coming to Mexico primarily to enjoy our rich culture. Riviera Maya is still a favourite destination but some openings in the Cabos area —Solaz, Grand Velas, Montage and soon Ritz-Carlton Reserve—are turning the reflectors on the Pacific. Mexico City is getting ready for two big ones, Park Hyatt and Ritz-Carlton, while some new and interesting openings like Ryo Kan Mx—the first ever Japanese style hotel in the country—are great alternatives for those who like to think outside the box.

New and independent hotels and projects, like Chablé in the Yucatan Peninsula, are also showcasing some new trends, like wellness and nature travel. We have seen a lot of new companies that focus on nature exploration, helping travellers get in contact with the beautiful Mexican surroundings through walks and treks all over the country. While most of them are targeting local travellers, some, like Aire Libre Run, have programs designed for international travellers too. Also, big resorts like Punta Mita, are now regularly putting together events that focus on wellness, offering travellers the opportunity to mix holidays with wellbeing.

So, if we had to choose one word to describe Mexico in 2018, I would choose “optimistic”. Because now more than ever, the best is yet to come.

María Pellicer travels the world looking for stories as Editor-in-Chief of Travesías Magazine. Travesías are regular media attendees at ILTM events; catch them next at ILTM Cannes this December!

How your choices impact others

How your choices impact others

Last year was not an easy time for Mexico City. On September 19th, the city suffered a severe 7.1 earthquake that took the life of 305 people and damaged close to 3,000 buildings. Strangely enough 32 years ago, on the exact same day, another deadly earthquake destroyed Mexico City, killing around 10,000 people. Other than the strange coincidence of the date, the outcomes have been very different. We learnt so much from the 1985 experience and the lives that we lost recently are significantly fewer. Even if this is good news, coming back from the earthquake has proven to be the most difficult part (and I can only speak on behalf of Mexico City, knowing that there are many communities and towns affected in Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, etc. that are going through a very challenging time). 

The first few days after the earthquake happened, the international community focused all their attention on Mexico City, whilst most of the Mexicans were out on streets, trying to help however way possible. However, as the days went on, the international media forgot about the situation as we tried to move on with our lives. Nevertheless, there is still so much to do in terms of reconstruction and rebuilding; still so many people are homeless and unable to be find a new place to live. The real problem is that everything is taking too long and this is not something happening exclusively in Mexico, this is something that is happening in Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean, in Houston, in Napa, and in so many other places.

In these situations, tourism plays a key role in helping the communities rebuild their lives and helps to speed up the recovery time. In the aftermath of the Mexico City earthquake, travellers cancelled their trips leaving hotels with very low occupancy rates. By the beginning of the November, and thanks to the F1, most of our hotels are busy again but we need to work to keep this going. Hotels, restaurants and shops run on the money international travellers bring in so we need them to keep the city alive.

I recently was lucky enough to meet Sylvia Earle, one of the most respected marine biologists in the world, an explorer and a strong advocate for the ocean. Sylvia came to Mexico to promote her project ‘Mission Blue’, to raise awareness about the importance of looking after the ocean. Sylvia has created a network of ‘Hope Spots’ all over the world. These ‘Hope Spots’ are protected areas in the ocean that work as under water national parks where wildlife is protected from human threats (mainly indiscriminate fishing). Sylvia has been fighting to protect the ocean for a very long time, trying to get the world to understand the inevitable co-relationship between what is happening under the sea and what is happening on the surface. For Sylvia the connection is very clear, the recent hurricanes, floods and uncontrollable fires all connect with the state of the ocean.

Since we cannot see what is happening below the surface it is difficult to understand and get our head around the real damage we are doing to the ocean. Sylvia has made it her mission in life to ensure society understands the severity of the issue and respond accordingly. Sylvia made me realise, as I really did not understand the extent of the damage we are causing until I met her.

As travellers, and as citizens, we have choices. We choose where we go, we choose what we eat, we choose how we spend our money. As an international travel community our decisions can make a huge difference. As travel agents, we should encourage tourism in an area that is recovering from a natural disaster. As journalists, we should use our pages to tell the stories of those people in the world who are making a difference. In the aftermath of a very complicated 2017, and with so many communities and cities affected by natural disasters (and sadly, many human threats), we need to be more conscious than ever on the choices we make. There is no excuse, because we are able to make the right choice. Hopefully, now, more than ever, we will be aware of the importance and the power behind each decision we make.

María Pellicer has been Editor-in-Chief of Travesías Magazine for the past seven years, travelling the world looking for stories. Travesías are regular media attendees at ILTM events; catch them first at ILTM Latin America this May!