Designed to solidify Houston’s position as a top city for global enterprise, tourism, and leisure travel from Mexico, Houston Week – Houston’s largest ever international trade and tourism mission to Mexico is organized for the second consecutive year.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, with the support of Houston First Corporation, Greater Houston Partnership, and Texas Medical Center, along with participating partners United Airlines and Houston Airport System, recently completed Houston Week.
2023 activations included execution of new cooperative agreements, initiation of strategic discussions with key government officials, business executives, and members of the media; and targeted market activations in both Monterrey, Nuevo Leon and Mexico City, Mexico.
“Our recent trade and tourism mission to Mexico reinforced Houston’s top position as a destination for leisure and business travelers from Latin America. We are not going to rest on that success and will continue to strengthen our partnerships and build our global reputation as a city that offers cultural and economic opportunities,” said Mayor Turner.
Mayor Turner and the Houston delegation also held diplomatic meetings with the Mayor of Monterrey Luis Donaldo Colosio Riojas, Governor of Nuevo Leon Samuel Alejandro Garcia Sepulveda, and Mexico’s Secretaria de Turismo Miguel Torruco Marqués to discuss items such as sustainability, metro governance, and resilience cities practices, nearshoring opportunities, effective border crossings through the Colombia port of entry, and how to increase cultural, economic, and family ties across the regions.
Based on a 2023 report from Tourism Economics, Houston saw a 41% year-over-year increase with visitation numbers from Mexico from 2021 to 2022. Last year, the city welcomed 1.3 million visitors from Mexico and experienced a 68% increase in overall spending from those same travelers when compared to 2021. Mexican tourists also brought an estimated $432 million to the local Houston economy in 2022.
“Across travel, business and culture, Mexico is extraordinarily important to Houston and that’s why this mission is critical to our efforts of promoting our city abroad,” said Michael Heckman. “I could not be more pleased with the results of our weeklong effort that resulted in countless new connections and strategic partnerships that will serve both regions in the months and years to come.”
As the largest medical complex in the world, the Texas Medical Center (TMC) served as a 2023 presenting partner for Houston Week and connected Houston Methodist, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital, and MD Anderson Cancer Center with the Houston delegation. During their time in both Monterrey and Mexico City, TMC engaged with 27 health science entities comprising of start-ups and large health science-related corporations in order to identify collaborative opportunities that would further lifesaving discoveries.
“We are eager to connect TMC and Mexico’s innovation ecosystems, creating a place for Mexican startups to land in Houston to access the US market. We also believe there is value in creating a research network to more seamlessly bring clinical trials conducted in Mexico to the US. We look forward to building partnerships with Mexico in the upcoming year,” said TMC President and Chief Executive Officer Bill McKeon.
Additional partners joining the 2023 Houston delegation included Halliburton Labs, Galen Data, Space Center Houston, The Westin Galleria, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, JW Marriott Galleria, Marriott Marquis, Hyatt Place Galleria, Experience Houston, AM Liberty Hospitality (Holiday Inn Express & Staybridge Suites Galleria), East River 9, The Travel Xperts, The Galleria, Smart Strategic Marketing.
With the support of the American Chamber of Commerce or AMCHAM, Invest Monterrey, and Nuevo Leon’s Secretary of Economy, the Houston delegation connected with 111 business entities that support industries such as health sciences, aerospace, major airports and commercial carriers, tourism, and sports.
“As Houston’s top trading partner, strengthening investment, tourism, and trade ties between Mexico and Houston is a priority for our region,” said John Cypher, Vice President of International Investment and Trade at the Partnership.
“Houston Week gave us the opportunity to present the region as a unique destination for investment to over a hundred companies and organizations from a variety of sectors including life sciences, aerospace, energy, and advanced manufacturing.”
Additionally, the Houston delegation secured a total of 348 travel trade appointments in both cities and provided training to travel agents in Monterrey and Mexico City. Houston also announced the debut of Houston Travel Fest, a consumer show coming to the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston this fall with exhibitors from both the U.S. and Mexico.
The signature experience of Houston Week were the Hola Houston events – evening celebrations curated to reintroduce and excite attendees about all things Houston. Taking place inside Museo del Acero Horno 3, Parque Fundidora in Monterrey, Nuevo León, and later that week at MIDE Museo Interactivo de Economia (Interactive Museum of Economics) in Mexico City, guests were provided with an opportunity to engage with some of Houston’s most notable chefs, artists, and musicians, including 2023 James Beard nominee Chef Greg Gatlin of Gatlin’s BBQ, Bravo TV’s Top Chef Houston finalist Chef Evelyn Garcia and her partner Henry Lu of JUN by Kin, Chef Ope Amosu of the highly-regarded West African Houston restaurant ChòpnBlọk, Houston muralist David Maldonado, renown ice sculptor Reverend Butter, and the unique artistic talent of DJ David Wrangler, also known as Disko Cowboy.
Media attention around Houston Week and 2023 activations in Mexico generated more than 212 million earned media impressions with more than 50 members of the media attending the Mexico City activations alone. Engagement with local media in Mexico City also grew by three-fold when compared to the previous year’s event.