Here’s a basic fact: Mexico is America’s number one tourist destination (and its formal name is The United Mexican States). At the same time, the country’s tourism board believes that many Americans don’t see the whole picture when it comes to our southern neighbor. In short, Mexico isn’t just about stereotypical Spring Break trips to Cancun and the requisite tanning sessions and tequila shots.

The country’s representatives want to change all that with an extensive rebranding campaign designed to focus on the more exclusive and luxurious elements of the Mexican tourism experience with the tagline “Mexico: the place you thought you knew.”

The campaign and tagline aren’t new, but we recently had the opportunity to speak to Gerado Llanes, CMO of the Mexico Tourism Board, about the latest elements of this countrywide shift in marketing and public relations strategies.

What is the primary goal of this campaign?

We want to convey the fact that Mexico is a lot more than beaches, margaritas and mariachis. Of course we are a spring break destination, but we want to more aggressively push the message about our luxury offerings.

For example: if you put all the hotels in North and South America together, you still wouldn’t have as many five-diamond locations as Mexico. We also have three of the world’s top 100 golf courses and the number one and two ranked spas in the world. Mexico also has many four-star restaurants that some people may not know about.

From business standpoint, we want to increase the average US spend in Mexico. We’re aiming for high-level consumers by saying “look and see what Mexico has to offer.”

How have you changed your marketing and PR strategies?

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