A 28-member delegation of Hoosier agriculture and tourism leaders, headed by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, is traveling Sunday to Mexico to strengthen ties with their Mexican counterparts and to promote Indiana as a tourism destination.

The five-day trade mission is slated to visit Mexico City and Hildago state. Following a Friends of Indiana reception, the agricultural and tourism contingents will separate to pursue industry-specific business opportunities.

The agricultural delegation is set to participate in business-to-business discussions, meetings with government officials, site visits and company tours to renew connections with existing business partners and work to develop new markets for Indiana agriculture.

"Mexico is a large purchaser of Indiana's agricultural products in sectors such as corn, hardwoods, duck and pork," Bruce Kettler, Indiana agriculture director, said.

Meanwhile, the tourism-focused members of the delegation will meet with Mexican travel writers, tour organizers, travel agents and related businesses to showcase Indiana's tourism assets and promote travel to the state.

"Our statewide tourism efforts are helping the economy grow and we want to take that internationally," Misty Weisensteiner, state tourism director, said.

Both agriculture and tourism are overseen by the Republican lieutenant governor's office. Crouch last year traveled to Manitoba, Canada to ink an agreement to promote shared agricultural interests and mutual economic growth.

"After our successful trip to Canada, I am excited to bring agriculture and tourism partners to Mexico to further our economic partnerships between the two countries," Crouch said. "Indiana has a lot to offer and learn from our associates in the south, and I look forward to the positive conversations that will occur over this trip."

The delegation is due to return to the Hoosier State on July 11.

The costs of the trip for state employees in the delegation are being paid through private donations to the Indiana Economic Development Foundation and not with tax dollars.
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