Mexico plans drive to lure back tourists

Mexico is planning a major PR campaign to lure travellers back to the country following the global outbreak of swine flu.

Mexico: plans to get back on tourists' lists
Mexico: plans to get back on tourists' lists

The Mexico Tourism Board is desperate to re-establish confidence in the country once media hysteria over swine flu has died down.

PR tactics under consideration include securing the endorsement of celebrities, such as artist Damien Hirst, to act as brand ambassadors.

Manuel Diaz Cebrian, Mexico Tourism Board director for Europe, said: ‘Damien Hirst is someone I would like to app­roach because he loves Mex­ico.’ Hirst is understood to own property in Mexico.

The PR campaign will also focus on the holidaymakers who chose to stay in Mexico after the virus broke out. ‘We need to remind people that Mexico is a fantastic place,’ said Cebrian.

After the swine flu outbreak last month, the tourism board decided to int­errupt all PR and advertising activity for four weeks.

‘Right now when you mention Mexico, the first thing you think of is the flu, not mariachi bands,’ said Cebrian. ‘We have to start from zero.’

In the next few weeks, the Tourism Board will soft-launch its PR campaign. This will include keeping journalists, especially the lifestyle press, informed through press briefings and events. After two months, Mexico will roll out a hard-hitting advertising, marketing and PR campaign.

Mango PR looks set to rem­ain the tourism board’s ret­ained agency. ‘We do not have the luxury of getting into the process of selecting new agencies,’ said Cebrian. ‘We have no time to lose.’

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