FONATUR was the pioneer of planned tourism in Mexico, there is not a doubt. First, Cancún and Ixtapa, then Los Cabos, Loreto and Huatulco and nowadays, other Integrally Planned Centers make part of this development range: Teaca- pán, a complete sustainable center, Marina Cozumel and Costa Capomo. The Found’s main goal is to develop the touristic activity in an ordered way by res- pecting nature and urban local development. These efforts have placed Mexico between the ten most important touristic destinations in the world.
According to the entity’s data, the Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo – FONATUR – has invested more than 2.9 million dollars throughout its history. This fact has generated some important contributions to Mexico’s touristic, economic and social development.
Interviewed by INMOBILIARE Magazine, Adriana Pérez Quesnel, FONATUR’s General Director, tells us about the most important news and events within the Institution.
INMOBILIARE Magazine (IM): FONATUR has been really busy for the last months with the project of the Integrally Planned Center Teacapán and on the other hand, the developments Marina Cozumel and Costa Capomo, among others. Does the country’s economy have helped create conditions to reactivate more touristic projects?
Adriana Pérez Quesnel (APQ): Indeed, last year, Mexico’s economy growth was of 5.5%, one of the biggest we have known for the last ten years and obviously it is reflected on more investments, overall from Mexican businessmen. Traditionally, our investments were foreign. FONATUR got more foreign investment than national and currently, we see an increase of the national one in our destinations. Today, due to the Mexican economy’s growth, investors trust it more, that is why we continue to receive more investments, for example, from Spanish and also from Mexican hotel groups really consolidated, that consider Mexico as an attractive opportunity with interesting returns. This year we have seen an important recovery if we compare it to the 2010.
IM: What do you think about institutional and individual developers, related to the Program Momento FONATUR, where it seems they saw a good financing opportunity? What can you tell us about that?
APQ: With Momento FONATUR we have reached to engage more individual investors, in spite of the Institution’s tradition to engage investments from big hotel groups, it means this market is already consolidated; however, in all our destinations we have commercial and residential family areas, today if someone wants to open a restaurant, a bar or another kind of business related to tourism, we are a choice. I can assure you these individual investors quantity is increasing; these areas price promotion has been attractive and so has the long term financing. We sell law security and in addition, the Integrally Planned Centers’ maintenance is lifetime.
IM: What other advantages does an investor find when coming to you?
APQ: When someone buys a land with FONATUR, it includes all the services: drainage, electric installation, running water, the urbanization all around the land and we offer maintenance to the destination forever. FONATUR does not leave the destinations and obviously the improvements that the Integrally Planned Centers receive are constant; for instance, we re-launched Huatulco in 2008, and it has more activity today with the Park Eco Archeological Copalita, a great engineering work that we created jointly to the INAH (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia) and it is a reference for FONATUR. There, we discovered a pyramid and a “juego de pelota” (ball game), so these are some extras we offer to the investors and well, in some destinations we have high-quality golf courts. Each of these aspects represents an advantage for those who buy or sell in our destinations: Cancún, Marina Cozumel, Huatulco, Ixtapa, Costa Capomo, Litibu, Teacapán, Los Cabos and Loreto.
IM: What are the expectations concerning investments? What other countries are interested in Mexico?
APQ: There are some Americans interested in Mexico. For years, they have demonstrated a special interest in Los Cabos and Cancún that are much more consolidated; we also have some interested people from Canada, but they generally seek new projects, and Mexican investor has responded well.
IM: How do you see the interest in the new Integrally Planned Sustainable Center of Teacapán?
APQ: In the forums where we have exposed the project, the most they like is association. Traditionally, FONATUR model sells lands on credit with all the services and infrastructure. In Teacapán we have gone beyond when creating an association between the land purchaser and us. We know it is a CIP that has nothing all around, as Cancún 40 years ago; we say to the investors they can become the Mexican Federal Government’s partner through FONATUR, so the plan is to create a very simple loan where the institution places the land, the investors give the capital for the hotel and in five or six years, once the investor has recovered the investment, we leave the loan; it means the person interested in it does not need to have all the money or the investment at the beginning, he or she can pay the land in several years. The goal is to detonate three or four hotels following this model.
IM: FONATUR wants to build its first hotel In Teacapán. Tell us something about that.
APQ: It is true. It will be the first hotel the Integrally Planned Center of Teacapán will have. In this case we are seeking an operator; in fact, the executive project is almost complete. On the other hand, the land we have chosen is in the CIP center and we want to build it respecting the total amount of palms in the area, which would be an example for other hotel businessmen, because it is possible to build in the middle of this vegetation.
IM: What are the first spaces you have for sale at the CIP Teacapán?
APQ: We need to create the critical mass. That is why the first lands to be sold are the hotel and commercial areas; and the residential spaces are including in the second stage.
IM: Talking about something else, do you think there is a rise concerning the tourism in Mexico?
APQ: According to the investments we do see a rise and the numbers are clear. Compared to the 2010, this year has been much better. The numbers generated in the destinations FONATUR are a small sample. However, they reflect the touristic activity in the country. We know about several investments on projects in the center of Mexico and besides, according to the Bank of Mexico data, the average expenses of tourists in the territory has risen; cruises arrivals are increasing, the amount is 5.37% and it is really good, in fact, FONATUR has three Port Integral Administrations: Los Cabos, Huatulco and Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, so our labor here consists on calling the shipping centers and explaining to them why they have to come to Mexico.
IM: Tell us about FONATUR’s participation when signing the National Agreement for the Tourism.
APQ: Ten axes form the Agreement, and FONATUR participates in three of them: Building, maintaining and improving infrastructure, and also fomenting the urban order, indeed at the CIPs Teacapán, Matina Cozumel and Costa Capomo we are going to build by insisting in this axis. Another one is to diversify and rich the touristic offer and, in the interior of our destinations we have been doing it, for instance, in Costa Capomo we will build a PGA class court golf, for Teacapán in Sinaloa, two marinas are planned; in other words, we seek to incentive the touristic offer. And finally, we are also contributing in the other National Agreement for the Tourism axe, like promoting the balanced sustainable development, and Huatulco and Teacapán are an example of that.
IM: We knew Huatulco is the first community worldwide in obtaining the Certificate Earthcheck Gold. Tell us about it.
APQ: Yes, it is true. The CIP Huatulco is the first destination worldwide in obtaining this award, which is based on the Agenda 21 standards and the quality norm standards of the group ISO as a strict evaluation process to qualify aspects as waste reduction, energy efficiency, clean and sewage treatment, environmental policies application and the society’s integration in conservation practices.
IM: Finally, Adriana, why to make business with FONATUR?
APQ: Any dream the investor or developer has, he or she is going to realize FONATUR is the best business partner to make it real thanks to the profitability, security and continue presence that we guarantee in the destination.