10 ideas to win with a tourism business

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Mexico is the main tourist destination in Latin America, according to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum 2017 . In addition, it occupies the ninth place in the ranking of the countries with the highest number of tourists of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

In 2016, it received 35 million foreign visitors and attracted seven times more international tourists than Brazil, leaving a wide opportunity to do business in the sector.

Tourism represents 8.7% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Mexico. According to the Ministry of Tourism (Sectur), in 2015, the expenditure made by national and foreign tourists within the country reached 2.2 million pesos. National consumption constituted 85.2%, while 14.8% corresponded to foreign visitors, which can serve as a guide for you to orient your services, depending on the visitor profile you intend to focus on.

The eight regions most visited by business tourists are Mexico City, the State of Mexico, Morelos, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, Sinaloa and Chihuahua, according to The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). The key destinations in the leisure tourism segment for abroad are Cancun, Mexico City, Los Cabos and Guadalajara, reports the Sectur.

The recommendation of Rafael Driendl, executive director for Mexico of Kayak, online travel search comparator, is that when undertaking in the sector, do not forget to include an innovative component in order to remain in time. “Innovation is the key to economic and business success ”, he assures.

There are three ways to innovate: with a new product, a new process, or a new way of doing things. “Your idea must be transformed into value. This brings in addition productivity, competitiveness and profits ”. Don’t delay in innovating! Identify unmet needs around you. Here are 10 options for you to start doing business in this industry.


Example: Young World

By becoming a travel agent (also called a travel advisor or consultant or destination specialist), you can get free travel and a fun, profitable business. The Mexican Association of Travel Agencies (AMAV) has 2,000 members out of a total of 6,000 travel agencies that exist in the country.

A good travel agent offers expert advice, prepares differentiated tour packages, has a vocation for customer service, is always ready to listen and help people, likes sales, speaks English and knows geography.

With almost 20 years in the market and an international presence, Mundo Joven Travel Shop offers a franchise that functions as a sales office. The objective is for you to be a consultant-seller of tourism and culture. The total investment is $ 65,000 and it is possible to recover it in 24 months. The World Travel Award recognized Mundo Joven as the best travel agency in Mexico and Central America in 2016.


Example: City Express

Starting a hotel that caters to business travelers is a good opportunity. The figures show it: 80% of the rooms that are occupied nationwide are for this type of tourist, points out the Mexican Association of Hotels and Motels. In Mexico, 17.2 million business trips are made per year, according to The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).

Who offers a hotel focused on this segment is the City Express franchise with two key benefits for guests: quality and affordable price. They have perfected their business model over 15 years. They open a unit every six weeks, on average. The franchisee receives advice for the development of the project, a web platform and marketing tools, high levels of standardization, operational support, among others. The approximate investment is 100 million pesos and you can start to recover it from the first year. However, it is not until three or four years later that he is fully reintegrated.


Example: Hit Mexico

Mobility is one of the aspects most requested by tourists, who demand first class transport services. This link is the one that stands out the most in the country’s tourism industry, contributing 17% to tourism GDP.

Those who absolutely need to travel from one place to another are business travelers, a segment in the country that is growing at double-digit rates, according to Sectur.

The Hit Mexico franchise offers a utility vehicle rental model, which can be used to offer transportation services to travelers. It requests an initial capital of between 8.9 million and 10 million pesos, with a recovery of the investment in 24 months. 70% of the money goes to the acquisition of units.

Hit México has an experience of more than eight years. It operates in Mérida, Monterrey, Querétaro and Culiacán. Their lease plans range from one day to three years. The directors of the company assure that it is a business with high demand and little supply.


Example: Potzollcalli

The five favorite destinations for foreign tourists in the country are Cancun, Mexico City, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara. The one that received the most travelers from other countries was Cancun, and the one that received the least, the capital of Guadalajara, indicates the Sectur. In any of these places, setting up a Mexican food restaurant is viable to delight those who visit us from other latitudes.

The restaurant industry is one of the most dynamic in Mexico: it generates 1,000 million pesos in sales, according to the Endeavor Insight report Creating a recipe for success.

In this sector, Potzollcalli is a Mexican food franchise that specializes in the sale of pozole. It has more than 45 years of experience and 33 branches in the Mexican Republic. The investment starts at 3.5 million pesos for a premises of 120 m2 in shopping malls. The investment payback time is variable.


Example: The Bathtub

There are approximately 21,000 lodging establishments nationwide, according to the Mexican Association of Hotels and Motels. They include all types or classifications: from the Gran Turismo to the special category, such as cabins or bungalows, which translates into about 750,000 rooms.

This is the panorama that invites the entrepreneur to do business with 21,000 hotels that exist in the country. An alternative is to become a supplier of handmade soaps, moisturizers, body shampoo, products for the bathtub, among many other options.

La Bañera has been producing all these types of items since 2005 and offers a business opportunity as a distributor based on an investment of 5,000 pesos. The capital recovery time is given in one month. You can buy product with up to 50% discount. If you need to label it with your own brand, it is possible. Another source of
income is the sale of souvenir soaps for weddings, baptisms, birthdays, among others.


Example: Tumbiko

Mexico is the third largest producer of handicrafts in the world, as stated by the National Fund for the Promotion of Art (Fonart). 10% of Mexicans are artisans (around 12 million). Handicrafts generate 91.612 million pesos of the national GDP, this is more than what the performing arts, shows, plastic arts and the publishing industry produce together.

An opportunity to undertake this turn is Tumbiko (Mexican Artisan Jewelry). It is an online and catalog sales franchise that has attracted the attention of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Its “ambassadors” (more than 250) are the people who distribute the product. So you can start your business by making a purchase from 1,000, 2,000 or 3,000 pesos, with a discount of 15%, 25% and 35%, respectively. The pieces are unique and are created by emerging designers and a network of 32 artisans. You will receive advice, sales training and commissions for online orders.


Example: Hostelling International Mexico

In Mexico the use of hostels has become popular, these are accommodations that rent beds in collective dormitories. Almost all are made up of bunk beds and shared bathrooms. Some have private rooms and also rooms with their own bathroom. These options are always cheaper than a traditional hotel.

If you own a hostel in Mexico or want to start with one, you could be backed by a brand with a global presence and operate with high quality standards. This is if you join Hostelling International México and are part of a network of more than 4,000 hostels in 90 countries. Membership is annual, costs 8,200 pesos and requires requirements such as a property located in an area with easy access and close to public transport.

In addition, you must be located in areas with tourist attractions such as beaches, natural, colonial, archaeological monuments, ecotourism, etc. It is important to have laundry, living spaces, telecommunications, excursion services, among others.


Example: Mambocafé

Inegi has 25,216 nightclubs in the country. Many of them attract tourists at any time of the year. The demand for nightlife continues and opening a club is a good business option. But if you are not willing to take risks when developing your own concept, the turnkey opportunity is offered by Mambocafé, belonging to the Freedom Group, founded in 1986. This company is dedicated to the operation of restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the Mexican Republic and United States.

The key to being successful in the industry is having a live band and host DJ, all with the best audio and lighting technology. You can also generate more income with the rental of event facilities.

The brand offers the possibility of converting an existing business with a capital of 5 million pesos. For an empty location, it takes 5 million to 7 million pesos. The return on investment is 12 to 36 months. To date, they have two units of their own and four licenses.


Example: Green Mexico

It is estimated that one in five tourists who visit Mexico does so to practice adventure tourism. Of the 35 million travelers who arrive in the country each year, 6.4 million buy packages and practice this type of tourism, reports the Sectur.

At the Tianguis Turístico 2017, in Aca pulco, it was stated that there is demand from consumers. However, there is little supply of products. Therefore, opting for an adventure and nature tourism company is a profitable option. One of the pioneers in this sector for 28 years is México Verde. This year they began to sell their franchise, which requires an investment of 30 million pesos for infrastructure. You must contemplate a field of five hectares onwards. The business model is made up of three parts: accommodation, food and activities (18 in total, including: rafting, rappelling, climbing, zip-lining, gotcha , among others). The expected return on investment is three to five years.


Example: ElectroBike

Mexico ranks first with the highest traffic flow, according to the TomTom Traffic Index 2017 survey presented at the World Bicycle Forum. If you are one of the entrepreneurs who want to offer an ecological, safe, economical and efficient transport alternative in tourist cities, here is a business opportunity for you. This is ElectroBike, a franchise that has been selling electric bicycles, accessories and spare parts since 2012. At the Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo branch, they already have the rental scheme for tourists by the hour, day, week or month, and they want to continue expanding in other attractive places for travelers.

The investment amount starts from 747,000 pesos plus VAT and it is possible to recover it in a period of 22 to 24 months. In addition to selling to the end customer, you can generate more income by placing your product in tourism companies and government agencies. They have 23 franchises in the Mexican Republic, five in the United States and one in Latin America.

As you will see, there are a wide variety of options. Analyze your budget and bet on the one that best suits the needs of your locality and with which you feel most comfortable, according to your profile.