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Mexico Cup draws visitors

Organizer says Mexicans would rather come to Canada and Whistler



The change in the visa requirement for Mexicans travelling to Canada — and the penalizing mood from the U.S. for foreign travellers — means Whistler is becoming an increasingly popular destination.

Some visiting Mexicans just wrapped up an almost week-long stay in Whistler — and organized the Mexico Cup ski race — in a trip that appeals to VIPs and business leaders as much as it does to families looking for a March break. Mexicans no longer need a visa to travel to Canada as of late 2016.

"They're coming for the fun of skiing — and Mexicans spend the most (money) of all our visitors," said Amy Bjarnason, Tourism Whistler's manager of market development.

The event first came to Whistler in the winter of 2007, then returned again in 2016 and 2017. Travel to Whistler is aided by an increased number of flights from Mexico, which accounts for double-digit growth in the tourism market — up 37.4 per cent in B.C.

Arturo Cervantes, president of Cerrando Circulos Group, is one of the organizers of the Whistler Cup and a fan of Whistler's skiing and amenities. Imagen, a large media company in Mexico, helped organize the trip, and flights are booked through AeroMexico.

"We brought almost 200 Mexicans for this ski cup," Cervantes said in an email "Whistler has always been our first option, everyone that comes falls in love with the village and its people."

Cervantes explained that Canada is a destination on the bucket-list for a lot of Mexicans.

"Your people, your attractions, the way you take care of your nature is something that we really appreciate and value," he said, adding that word is quickly spreading of what Canada and Whistler have to offer.

"The effort of Tourism Whistler in Mexico has grown a lot since the news of the visa (restriction being lifted) was announced. Whistler is now a well-recognized place to ski for the high-end market of Mexico."

As well, U.S. President Donald Trump's mandate to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. has proven a deterrent for Mexican travellers, who now look to Canada as their No. 1 option.

"We really feel offended by Mr. Trump and our first option is and will be to come to Canada where we feel welcomed and respected," said Cervantes.