One on One With Quintana Roo’s New Tourism Director

Holbox is among the lesser-known destinations the new tourism board aims to benefit. // Photo by shalamov/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

A new, unified tourism board is set to spotlight off-the-beaten-path destinations in Mexico’s Quintana Roo. Travel Agent spoke with Darío Flota Ocampo, the head of the new Quintana Roo Tourism Board, for the latest on the organization’s plans.

“The idea is to take advantage of the experience from the tourism boards of Cancun and Riviera Maya and their success to support the less-known destinations, like Holbox,” Flota Ocampo said. For example, whale shark season, which lasts from now through September, is an example of a lesser-known attraction the organization wishes to help present to travelers and travel agents from the United States.

“These are the kind of things we need to share with them, and to be sure that they have all the information needed to do their job better,” Flota Ocampo said.

While the organization is still preparing its specific plans for travel agents, Flota Ocampo did say that the tourism board is working to create an American call center in Dallas that will provide travel agencies with information on all of the destinations under the tourism board’s authority, as well as to answer questions and offer support. The tourism board is also working to create a “newsroom” for travel agents to gather all of the available information on destinations in Quintana Roo, as well as a database of wholesalers.

At the same time, the unified tourism board will still make sure each destination maintains its own “personality.”

“We need to keep Cancun and the Riviera Maya playing to their strengths,” Flota Ocampo said. “But, for a family or couple that’s staying in Tulum, they may also want to know what’s going on in Bacalar.”

What of the recent security concerns in destinations such as Cancun that have made headlines in the consumer media?

“The plan is to basically put all the press in the proper context,” Flota Ocampo said. “We have millions of travelers every year, and they haven’t experienced problems.”

Flota Ocampo noted that the government has been working to increase security, installing new cameras and surveillance systems in tourist areas and areas near cruise ships. New technology has also been added to protect the ferry boats.

“We want to put the crime-related facts in the context that we have been developing around tourism-related activity,” Flota Ocampo said.

Looking ahead, Quintana Roo’s tourism sector is set to continue to grow. Flota Ocampo said that the region is adding 30,000 more hotel rooms over the next few years, many in high-end resorts. Cancun’s airport also recently opened a new terminal, Terminal 4, to deal with added airlift.

“All this investment represents the confidents of the people in the state,” Flota Ocampo said.

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