Canada-Mexico air travel accord set to boost tourism and business links
Canada and Mexico are putting new air travel measures in place that should boost tourism and business opportunities between the two countries, Mexico?s ambassador says.
Francisco Suarez said the change is among the initiatives that could come up when Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto meet in Mexico next week. The two leaders will be joined by U.S. President Barack Obama on February 19 for a trilateral summit that is expected to focus on economic co-operation.
In a recent interview with The Globe and Mail, Mr. Suarez said easing restrictions on air travel should increase the number of direct flights between Mexican and Canadian cities, benefiting both tourists and business travellers. Canada and Mexico initially reached an expanded agreement on the issue in 2011 but have not yet ratified the deal.
The ambassador said he is particularly hopeful that direct flights will open up between Mexico City and Calgary because he expects the Canadian city to become an important hub for Mexican energy companies seeking outside expertise. Mexico, which has significant shale-gas deposits and a strong potential for deep-water oil production, recently opened its energy sector to foreign investment after decades of state control.
But Mr. Suarez added that as long as a visa requirement remains in place for Mexican travellers, any increase in flight traffic will be disproportionately in Mexico?s favour. Mexicans have needed visas to travel to Canada since 2009, a restriction that has been criticized as a roadblock to advancing relations between the two countries.
?If we?re going to have a new aviation agreement that liberalizes airplane movement between Canada and Mexico, it?s theoretically so we increase the movement of people both ways,? Mr. Suarez said. ?What?s going to happen is we?re going to have it one way [to Mexico]. So that benefits us.?
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