Press Releases & Blogs

Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston First Corporation Launch International Trade and Marketing Initiative in Mexico

Houston • March 14, 2022

HOUSTON, March 10, 2022 – Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston First Corp. (HFC), and the Greater Houston Partnership are spearheading an economic development and integrated marketing campaign in Mexico as part of an aggressive strategy to reinforce Houston’s position as the top city for global trade, tourism, business, and leisure travel from Mexico.

The first annual Houston Week features a multi-city market activation that incorporates diplomatic relations, business development, corporate and travel trade meetings, social activations, and interactions with local media before culminating into an experiential ‘Hola Houston’ event that spotlights Houston’s dynamic tapestry of culture. 

The weeklong set of events kick off March 28 - April 1 with stops in Monterrey and Mexico City.

“For many years, Houston has enjoyed a special relationship with the people of Mexico. More travelers arrive in our city from Mexico than any other international market, but the pandemic adversely affected tourism,” Mayor Turner said. “Houston also is the chief economic link to Mexico, and we cannot overstate that this mutually beneficial arrangement is a vital boon to our economy. I look forward to working with Houston First Corporation and the entire delegation on this exciting collaboration as we work to retain and cultivate our market share in Mexico.”

According to a 2020 Travel Marketing Insights Inc. report, Houston received an estimated 3.4 million international travelers, with Mexico accounting for 70 percent of those visitors. The report also indicated that Mexican visitors contributed $913 million USD in total direct spending while visiting Houston. (source: Travel Markets Insights Inc. July 2020)

“Houston is a city that thrives on collaboration and we have harnessed that idea of the power of together to create Houston Week,” President and CEO for Houston First Corporation Michael Heckman said. “The purpose behind Houston Week is to present a holistic view of our city and a powerful portfolio of partners who each bring unique strengths, skills, and resources to the table. The activations in Monterrey and Mexico City also will kick off Houston First’s integrated marketing campaign in Mexico as part of an overall strategy to stimulate growth and opportunity for Houston. We are thankful for the support of all of our partners as we bring the flavor of Houston to Mexico.”

As part of the activations, the delegation from HFC and strategic partners will be connecting with the Mexican Secretary of Tourism, Governor Samuel Alejandro Garcia Sepúlveda of Nuevo León, Mayor Donaldo Colosio Riojas of Monterrey, as well as business and city leaders to discuss diplomatic and corporate relations between the two regions. 

“Houston’s position as the nation’s leading export market means international business is vital to our regional economy, and Mexico has long been one of our top trade partners,” said Bob Harvey, President and CEO, Greater Houston Partnership. In 2021, $21.6 billion in goods and services moved between Houston and Mexico, making that nation Houston’s No. 2 global trade partner. “The business ties between our region and Mexico are strong, but this is an opportunity to continue to build on those ties in critical sectors such as life sciences, innovation and advanced manufacturing.”

The hallmark of Houston Week will be its “Hola Houston” evening events, a dynamic sensory and culinary experience curated to excite attendees about all things Houston.

Taking place inside Zanq on March 29 in the Valle Oriente area in San Pedro Garza García in Nuevo León, and later that week on March 31 at Centro Cultural Estacion Indianilla in Mexico City, invited guests will have an opportunity to engage with some of Houston’s most iconic artists, designers, mixologists, and James Beard award-winning chefs. This dynamic showcase includes:


  • Chef Hugo Ortega: Owner and executive chef of four of Houston’s top restaurants, including Backstreet Café, URBE, and Caracol. He has been named Best Chef: Southwest by the prestigious James Beard Foundation.
  • Chef Ruben Ortega: Pastry chef for the H-Town Restaurant Group. His decadent creations at Xochi in Houston earned him a spot as a 2022 semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef by the James Beard Foundation. 
  • Chef Kiran Verma: Recognized as the “godmother of Indian fine dining,” Chef Kiran restaurant is known for serving up Indian hospitality with French sophistication and American informality.
  • Chef Chris Williams: Earning numerous accolades for his Southern-style cuisine, Chef Chris continues to use influences from across the globe to curate his menu at Lucille’s.
  • Mixologist Chris Morris is a four-time national finalist of esteemed cocktail competitions and earned numerous regional awards. His creative interpretation of the classic paloma at Chef Nikki Tran’s Viet-Cajun restaurant Kau Ba is the perfect example of Houston’s blended culture.


  • Demola the Violinist: A native Lagosian turned Houstonian is an artist, songwriter, producer and renowned violinist who combines Afrobeats, pop, hip-hop and Reggae into exciting fusion covers. His performances have been featured during the 2021 State of the City in Houston and 2021 James Beard Awards.

Art + Fashion

  • Magpies and Peacocks: Located in the heart of Houston, this is the only nonprofit American design house dedicated to the collection and sustainable reuse of post-consumer clothing, scrap textiles, and accessories diverted from landfills.
  • David Maldonado: Recognized as @capdavjon on Instagram, David is a Houston-based multi-disciplinary artist who celebrates the vibrant stories of his community through public art. His eye-catching pieces can be seen in neighborhoods and major buildings throughout the city.         

About Houston First Corporation

Houston First is the official destination management organization for the city of Houston. In addition, Houston First owns the Hilton Americas-Houston hotel, manages the George R. Brown Convention Center along with 10 city-owned properties and developed the Avenida Houston entertainment district. Learn more at HoustonFirst.com and VisitHouston.com.


About Greater Houston Partnership

The Greater Houston Partnership works to make Houston one of the best places to live, work and build a business. As the economic development organization for the region, the Partnership champions growth across 12 counties by bringing together business and civic-minded leaders who are dedicated to the area’s long-term success. Representing more than 900 member organizations and approximately one-fifth of the region’s workforce, the Partnership is the place companies come together to make an impact. Learn more at Houston.org