Valeria Serrano’s frankness and integrity was evident from the start of our interview, reflecting two of the many reasons why her colleagues elected her as president of MPI Mexican Caribbean.
The extraordinary success story of MPI Mexican Caribbean
The Mexican Caribbean broke every barrier to become a chapter, bringing together 52 members in a record 32 days in 2019, effectively leap-frogging over what usually takes a year to achieve.
“[As we say in Mexico,] hunger and the desire to eat met up, because one of our objectives was to seek new business for the members, to take advantage of the great 16,000-strong MPI community, of which 1,400 were already doing business with Mexico. Our vision was to go after them,” said Valeria enthusiastically.
Chapter members are most interested in networking, especially given the recent disappearance of the MTB, an act mourned by Valeria and her industry peers.
“As they say, you either become a victim or you become resilient, and MPI’s answered responsibly. It was what brought everyone together so quickly—not just the partners, but also the sponsors, supporters, and all the local tourism industry,” said Serrano.
The facts confirm the Mexican Caribbean’s success story: the destination was nominated for a Membership Achievement award during the annual 2019 MPI awards (the winner will be announced in November). Another factor: in its first year, the chapter’s membership increased by 25%. Since most of its partners are suppliers, they created a meeting planner affiliate program so meeting planners from other chapters can also join the MPI Mexican Caribbean.
Happy Anniversary, Cancun!
Meetings Alliance congratulates Cancun on its 50th anniversary for being the world’s favorite Mexican beach destination. For obvious reasons, the celebration has been postponed, but that does not detract from the greatness of the destination.
“We’re not feeling sorry for ourselves, what we’re doing is adapting—it’s not the strongest who survives, but the one who best adapts to the circumstances. Today, health is the priority; after all, Cancun’s birthday is all year long, not just in April. We decided the actual festivities will held be in September at a municipal level. MPI plans on a grand celebration,” she said.
One of Valeria’s motivations is the gratitude she feels towards the national and international Meetings Industry: out of the 105 thousand rooms occupied in the Mexican Caribbean, anywhere from 35 to 40 percent of them correspond to this segment.
In order to carry out the postponed celebrations, it will be necessary to consider the new conditions and health regulations. Last May 15th, the Secretary of Tourism of Quintana Roo launched a new certification to guarantee the health of the participants and the success of the events. The certification will be free and online—more than 1,600 service providers are expected to implement it.
The possibility of using technology is there, and Valeria believes hybrid events will eventually be an important part of the new formula for Meetings Tourism. According to her, “it’s never the end of the world, there’s always a way.”
The Mexican Caribbean continues to grow as a tourist destination
The Mexican Caribbean has become a single destination that starts in Cancun and extends south through the Riviera Maya, including the islands. The latest numbers from 2015 indicate that of the 11.5 million tourists who visited the destination, 2.13 million were attached to the MICE industry. By extrapolating those numbers, Valeria estimates that if there were 18 million tourists in 2018, then there were 3 million visitors from the international MICE market (these are not official numbers). Another relevant piece of data is the 30 thousand new rooms being built through 2022.
What is your trajectory, your vision, your legacy?
Valeria was born in Guadalajara but has been living on the coast since the tender age of 7, when she moved to Manzanillo with her parents. She grew up on the beach, which she considered her backyard and where they had their school breaks. Valeria was immersed in a tourist ambiance—her afternoons and weekends were spent enjoying and touring the then exclusive Las Hadas Hotel. Her father was a commercial director in real estate, her mother promoted Mexican handicraft: “that’s where my twin passions were born—tourism and my love for Mexico.”
Valeria’s academic and professional careers include tourism and hotel management, but it’s with the creation of her company, CTA Cancun and Riviera Maya DMC, that she showcased her natural gift of service. She developed something that benefits many, generating new experiences that the client wouldn’t be able to create on their own while supporting local businesses.
“My legacy is to the satisfaction of having helped; it seems like it’s all business, but somebody has to do it and do it right. I consider myself—and my business—to be an ambassador for Mexico. The love I have for my country shines through not only by representing CTA: we’re telling the world that Mexico is glorious, that we are professionals because we provide quality and excellence, and we offer genuine human warmth,” she said, her eyes shining.
Valeria, a holistic woman
When I met Valeria, she didn’t strike me as shy, but as a strong woman, a quality that she’s developed throughout her life thanks to her studies and practices of the new neurosciences, quantum physics, epigenetics. She also has postgraduate studies in BioNeuroEmotion and, as if that weren’t enough, she was certified as a Mentor of the HeartMath Institute, where she discovered the coherence of the heart, the energy in which it vibrates, and the function of the neurons this vital organ has.
“There’s something very curious about Mexican culture, and it’s that our sayings as applied to Buddhism are the same, but still within the Mexican culture,” she said, both in jest and seriously.
Valeria Serrano is a role model for the new Mexican woman. Her hobbies include visiting museums, art, exercising, and reading; she also dreams of trying her hand at writing one day, something I’m sure she’ll achieve. The impression of an accomplished woman is confirmed not only by her professional success, but also by her 21-year-old daughter and 19-year-old son, who are ready to take off from the nest under their own steam.
Thank you for sharing your story and for your friendship, Valeria!