3 days in Mexico –FT Luxury Summit- A Perspective
3 days in Mexico City and I can understand why Mexico has been included as one of the MINT economies alongside Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. These are the countries to look out for in the coming years, with fast growing economies, a large population of Middle Class consumers, and the drive and desire to forge ahead to become to Developed Markets.
The Mexican people have a real depth of history and accomplishment behind them; from the roots of the Mayan Empire to the modern day Mexican, this vast and rich land has brought the world rubber, chewing gum, chocolate, vanilla and many other of our daily staples. The people have a keen sense of pride in their culture, evident from the many young people that visit the museums and historical areas around the city. Mexico City is much like its famed artist, Frida Kahlo. It is an alluring and complex woman, wrapped in a history of trial and tribulation, from early conquests by the Spanish to the modern day challenges of a huge population, of which 70% make less than $200 a month.
With this pride in Frida and her husband, Diego Morales, comes a people who love their culture, art and freedom of expression. Museums are free on the weekends for locals due to a government initiative to educate their youths, a much better past time than milling around shopping malls, a common practice in other cities I have visited. This sense of support and social initiative were further impressed upon me at the airport; in all my travels, I have never seen disabled and handicapped immigration staff. These individuals are given jobs and dignity through government employment, and not shunted out of sight as damaged.
Mexicans possess a high level of politeness and social graces that parallel what I have witnessed in Asian Countries. I attribute Mexico’s sinister association with drug cartels and gang murders to the lack of good PR. Today’s Mexico and its new Government are trying hard to shed its bad image, and establish a reputation as a place to visit.
As such, it was chosen by the Financial Times for their annual FT Luxury Summit, bringing the world’s elite in fashion, luxury and business together for 2 days of engaging discourse and insight. Held at the St Regis, one of the city’s finest and newest hotels, the event kicked off with great style and panache. Agility Research was proud to be the only Asian company to sponsor this World-class event.
Key individuals across 20 countries, from William Lauder to Stella McCartney, and Christian Louboutin to the Tourism Minister of Mexico came together to network and learn from each other. The celebrities and business people in the exquisite world of luxury had a lot to digest over the course of two days apart from the good food.
I always judge a place by the people and the food. Mexican food is a culinary journey to tantalize the senses. From ants eggs served in tortillas with guacamole, to tacos, enchiladas and a variety of beans, meats, cheeses and sauces, this food is some of the best I have tasted. Served with a dose of genuine hospitality and warmth, it is a travelers dream.
I was initially hesitant at the choice of Mexico City as a location for a conference on Luxury. However the 4 days I spent against this backdrop of great food, culture, and hospitality transformed my perception of the land and the city.
The opening night was held at Museo Jumex, a museum built by the World’s richest man, Carlos Slim for his wife. A modern day Mexican to parallel Shah Jahan, although the Museum in all its beauty and design doesn’t come near the Taj Mahal.
The final night of the event saw the attendees meet and mingle in the Convento de San Hipolito, a magnificently restored colonial monument of the sixteenth century. A truly stylish end to what was two days of stimulating debate and networking for the world of luxury.
The future is bright as the world’s population grows in size and affluence, with no foreseeable slowdown in consumption as people aspire to work hard to move up. Luxury and premium goods have always been sought after and regarded, from the early Mayans who prized gold and jewelry, to today’s Mexicans who covet the better things in life.
Stay tuned for Key Insights from the FT Business of Luxury Summit in our next opinion piece.
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