Earlier this week, you saw business owners render their review of the Christmas Season's retail sales. Some blamed the poor showing on Belizeans who shop across the border. And tonight we can tell you that Mexican business owners are probably saying the same thing! That's because thousands of Mexican holiday shoppers visited the Corozal Free Zone over the Christmas, making it one of the most successful years in recent memory. A new aggressive marketing strategy utilizing Television, Travel magazines and Billboards placed in strategic locations all across southeast Mexico is credited with producing the surge in visitors.

On the weekend of December 17th alone, more than 50 Thousand Mexicans entered the zone, forcing officials to hire extra security and staff to deal with the crowds.

And, according to David Akierman, Chairman of the Free Zone, that trend is expected to continue right up to the New Year.

David Akierman, Chairman, Corozal Free Zone
"This year in a whole and especially this Christmas season, has been the best one since I have been here for the last 3 and a half years, and for certain we have seen the up rise of visits since the second week of November. It was a longer season, last year it was very short, so we could say we had an easily 7 good weeks of visits. Within that 7 weeks we had an average of 52,023 Mexican vehicles coming in, so if we take an average of 4 persons per vehicles, that would run us 208,000 people that visited us in 7 weeks."

Jim McFadzean
"What do you believe was the reason for that?"

David Akierman, Chairman, Corozal Free Zone
"Well this year we have intensified our marketing in Mexico for sure and Mexico in a whole is starting to box out from the recessions right, so although the peso had devalued against the US dollar, I think there is more spending power now in Mexico and putting the advertisement that we had launched through the television, billboards and magazines etc. I think that's how it impacted the visitors, because we had people coming in all the way from Central, we had a lot coming up from Vera Cruz. That shows that our marketing strategies have paid off."

Akierman says his board has already approved a larger advertising budget for the year 2012. The increased funds will be used to expand the marketing of the Zone even deeper into Mexico.

Channel 7