During our ongoing coverage of the 18th annual MLT University, hosted by popular tour operator MLT Vacations, Travel Agent chatted with Rodrigo Esponda, U.S. Midwest director of Mexico tourism, and learned what Monterrey is doing to clean up its image following an August arson attack in a casino, killing 52 people.
Esponda says Monterrey will be launching a new promotional campaign to teach U.S. business travelers what the destination has to offer. Esponda didn't give an exact date, but says the new campaign will be launched "as soon as possible."
"Because of what happened there this year, I think a lot of people look at Monterrey as this bad place, but Monterrey has so much to offer and has really done a great job in recent years with business travel," Esponda says, noting that the destination just opened a new terminal at its airport and also added new connections from Chicago.
On the safety side, although Esponda says the August tragedy was an "isolated incident," Moneterry will continue to improve its police department quality, Rodolfo Lopez Negrete, chief operating officer of the Mexico Tourism Board, told us back in September.
During that interview, Negrete says, “You need to understand that for years this city was the model for safety,” he says. “It’s very safe, its very modern and its actually extremely Americanized. When everything changed two years ago, they really didn’t have an experienced police department. Because of that, Monterrey has been suffering some violent events over the last few years.”
But he did note that more safety initiatives will be coming soon to Monterrey with hopes of beefing up the security there.
“We mainly need to make sure the police are trained enough to deal with these challenges facing this great city,” Negrete says. “You have to remember, though, that this city is still thousands of miles away from Cancun and Los Cabos and other major tourism destinations, but we are still working to make Monterrey a safe destination again because this is such an architectural treasure for travelers visiting Mexico.”