Travelling to Mexico on Business?If you are planning a business trip to Mexico, here are some factors that you need consider before your trip, to maximise the benefits. Time spent researching the local business etiquette, travel safety advice, visa requirements and flight schedules should be part of your preparations – however this can take a lot of time in addition to the multiple arrangements that you are organising for your trip.
ACE Travel Management have put together a Business Guide which covers all of the above matters and their experienced consultants would be happy to provide further assistance with organising your travel arrangements.
Spotlight on Mexico
Please note: information provided is correct at time of going to press and to be used for reference purposes only. For up to date travel information and advice please check the foreign Office website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/mexico
Local time is GMT -6 (GMT -5 between the first Sunday in April and the second last Sunday in October).
110-120 volts, 60Hz. Two-pin flat blade attachment plugs are standard.
Spanish is the official language in Mexico. Some English is spoken in tourist regions.
The local currency is the Mexican Nuevo Peso, known colloquially as ‘Peso’. It’s easier to exchange US dollar travellers’ cheques and notes into local currency than Sterling. UK debit and credit cards are widely accepted for payment and in ATMs. It’s not usually possible to exchange cash at hotel receptions - this can only be done at banks and bureaux de change.
Mexican business people tend to wear suits. Dress code in Mexico is generally smart.
Business is commonly carried out at breakfast and/or lunch. Breakfasts are also the preferred choice to meet and exchange information about potential business deals.
It is considered impolite to split the bill. The person who is making the sale is traditionally expected to pay, or alternatively, the person who suggested or "invited'' other parties for a meal is understood to be offering to pay for that meal. Tips, which are not included in the bill, are generally around 10-15%.
Mexicans are very status conscious. Professional titles are also very important. It is customary to address your Mexican business partner as licenciado, which is the equivalent of a bachelors' degree. Do this even if you know that your business partner is not a licenciado. Ingeniero (engineer) and doctor (either medical doctor or PhD) are also quite common.
Bureaucracy is big in Mexico. Always take copies of the most relevant files and legal documents that may be required to meetings. You must also take your original passport or photocopies as proof of identification when you're closing a deal.
The telephone is considered an informal means of communication. Confirm all meetings on the day or the afternoon before if it is a breakfast meeting. This way you shouldn’t be stood up!
Business Hours - In Mexico City, most offices are open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, but sometimes will be open until 7:00pm from Monday to Friday. Lunch is generally taken at 2:00pm and lasts 1-2 hours.
It is impolite to turn people down during negotiations. It is essential that you learn to distinguish between cases where your business partner may need a bit more motivation and those cases where there is no chance of proceeding with the deal. Always have realistic expectations.
Closing a deal - Mexican firms are often underfunded and can run into serious supply problems. If a Mexican company is going to need a little money up-front to get the raw materials to produce what you want, then you should ensure that they will dedicate their company to working on your order.
Always record your transactions. The exchange of money and merchandise should happen at once. Payment should be by certified check, approved credit card transaction or with a transfer of funds in a bank. If you're supplying a Mexican company, the perennial letter of credit is the best idea.
Visa requirements for British Citizens for business activities in Mexico:
Visa exempt for a stay of up to 180 days. The traveller must:
- Hold a machine readable passport, valid at least six months on entry with one blank visa page
- Hold proof of sufficient funds and onward/return airline tickets
- Hold documents showing proof of purpose of trip
- Hold all documents required for the next destination
It’s advisable to seek medical advice before travelling to Mexico. A yellow fever certificate is required if entering from an infected area. A malaria risk exists in some rural areas, but not on the Pacific and Gulf coasts, and dengue fever is on the increase. Zika is a risk in Mexico. As infection in a pregnant woman can cause serious birth defects, travel to Mexico is not advisable during pregnancy. Vaccinations are recommended for hepatitis A and typhoid. Travellers who may come into contact with animals should consider a rabies vaccination. Be sensible regarding food and water, visitors are advised to be cautious of street food and stick to bottled water. Medical facilities are basic, so comprehensive medical insurance is recommended. As medicines may be in short supply in certain areas, travellers should consider taking along prescription medications, in their original packaging, and accompanied by a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing what it is and why it is needed.
There is a risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks in public places. Crime is high in Mexico, especially in Mexico City, where robberies and muggings are prevalent. Travellers should avoid flagrant displays of wealth, avoid your designer gear and be particularly vigilant on public transport, at stations and tourist sites. Only use authorised taxi services, from the taxi rank. Only travel on buses in daylight hours and travel first class. Women travelling on their own should be alert, especially in tourist areas, as a number of serious sexual assaults have occurred in Cancun recently. Visitors drawing money from cash machines or exchanging money at bureaux de change should do so in daylight hours and be especially vigilant on leaving. Visitors are advised to be wary of people presenting themselves as police officers attempting to fine or arrest them for no apparent reason, leading to theft or assault; if in doubt ask for identification, and, if possible make a note of the officer's name, badge number and patrol number. The practice is most common in Cancun where increasing numbers of motorists in rental cars have been stopped and threatened with imprisonment if an immediate fine is not paid. Recent reports of the drug cartel wars in Mexico may seem alarming to tourists travelling to Mexico, however most of this violence is concentrated along the border between Mexico and the United States, generally between drug cartels and law enforcement agents. Tourists are generally unaffected provided they keep to tourist zones and do not travel to the affected areas. However, travellers should research possible dangers before setting off. Hurricanes may affect the coastal areas between June and November.
Flights to Mexico
There are direct flights from London to Mexico City, Aero Mexico and British Airways. Direct flights to Cancun, from London are operated by British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Thomas Cook (seasonally). You can also fly indirect from the UK to various regional and International airports in Mexico with most major American and European airlines.
ACE Travel manages the travel policies, traveller safety issues and budgets to clients in Essex, please contact Sarah Wilson, Director for further information. www.acetravel.co.uk Tel : 0845 241 3406 firstname.lastname@example.org.