Merida, a target on the radar of Chinese entrepreneurs

Chinese group of representatives meet Merida's Mayor (Photo: La Verdad)

Increasing interest from Chinese investors in the capital of Yucatan.

MERIDA — For its quality of life, security, geographic location and regulatory improvements established by the Municipal Government, Merida is one of the most competitive cities in Mexico that attracts China’s interest, said the president of the China Peninsula Association of Yucatan, Antonio Bai.

Chinese group of representatives meet Merida's Mayor (Photo: La Verdad)
Chinese group of representatives meet Merida’s Mayor (Photo: La Verdad)

The director remarked that the Chinese interest in pursuing business opportunities in Merida hasn’t appeared just in recent months;  in fact it has several years of existence. “The authorities of Chengdu and Guizhou have invested generous resources to show their culture in Merida,” he said.

According to data from the association, in just two years, 19 gastronomic and cultural events were held in Merida, with an attendance of more than 13 thousand inhabitants of the city. The spectacles included Ghizou Chinese Theater, exhibitions of Chinese art, calligraphy samples, economic forums, Cinema and gastronomic shows, all in coordination with the City Hall, both in the framework of the Mérida Fest 2016 and in the festivities of the American Capital of Culture, this year.

During the meeting held by Merida Mayor Mauricio Vila Dosal with a representatives group from Chengdu, capital of the province of Sichuan, Antonio Bai mentioned that Chinese culture attaches great importance to cultural and tourism bonds that its provinces make with other regions of Latin-America to promote the knowledge of their culture and exchanges that could make easier the bilateral investments.

China is over passing these language and cultural barriers, and therefore promotes and invests in cultural and tourist exchange, such as the one that has been carried out with Merida since 2015, he said.

Kang Le, general manager of Sichuan China Travel Service, and Zhang Wei, general manager of Group Panda Travel, said that they were impressed with the commercial offer that exists in Merida, where they found an ideal environment to invest and promote tourism.

After being informed about the new implementation of the online operating license and the fact that Merida was ranked first in the Municipal Budget Information Index 2016 of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, they became convinced that Mérida is nowadays one of the best places in the world to invest and visit, they said.

In addition, they emphasized that to work with, to attract and to host the Chinese tourist and entrepreneurs, it is fundamental to know who are we dealing with, their preferences at the time of choosing a destination or hotel and also on the places to visit. They added that the cultural differences between China and Mexico are huge, and the language makes the distance greater. Also there are many very important aspects of customs and Chinese protocol which the Mexican entrepreneurs have to learn.

Both managers are part of the work group of wholesale tour operators and specialized journalists who together with the City of Merida council plans the design of a tour circuit that includes Mexico City and Quintana Roo, with special emphasis on the attractions offered by the state of Yucatan to introduce them among the Chinese tourist market.

Large tourism companies in China are capable of sending up to one million annual tourists to a single destination, they pointed out.

In the work group there were representatives from two important Chinese airports, Shenzhen Bao’an International and Chengdu Shuangliu International, who came especially to know the airport facilities that are included in the travel circuit.

They recalled that Mexico currently receives only 80.000 Chinese visitors per year and considering that the country has more than 1.3 billion inhabitants, with a life expectancy above 70 years, there is a huge opportunity to increase the flow of Chinese tourists to Merida by promoting this travel circuit, as a result of the exchange between Merida and the Chengdu government.

The Yucatan government also promotes trade and cultural exchanges with China since 2014, particularly with Anhui province governor Wang Xuejun, in order to seek areas of opportunity in tourism, education, culture and economy, which has resulted in mechanisms for exporting pork meat to that country.

Last month a delegation from that province met with the state government to consolidate bonds of cooperation and exchanges in higher education, talent development and training of Personal.