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Tianguis Turistico: Mexico’s Premier Tourism Event breaks records in Acapulco

Written by  Nicholas Kontis

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Depending on the Easter calendar, Mexico's premier tourism trade show event Tianguis Turistico is held each year in late March or April. The 44th Tianguis kicked off last week in Acapulco. Tianguis brings travel agents, tour operators, meeting planners along with the participation of each of Mexico's 32 states, and over 48,000 one on one meetings making Tianguis Mexico's most significant tourism conference.

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This year Tianguis Turistico returned to its original birthplace, and bi-annual location of Acapulco held at the Expo Mundo with 80% of this year’s Tianguis participants having attended the previous event in Mazatlán, while Tianguis Acapulco received 20% of new participants. Attendees converged on Mexico's first beach resort destination from over 45 countries conducting over 444 million pesos worth of business was conducted.

The message echoed by Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador focused on the importance of the tourism sector. "Mexico has long been a favorite travel destination. Tourism drives our economy by creating jobs, improving the lives of our people, and puts Mexico on display to the world," said Mr. Obrador.

Miguel Torruco, Mexico's incoming secretary of tourism mentioned that in the Mexican tourism sector there are ongoing projects that represent an investment of $4,865 billion dollars, while also stating a 6% increase in commercial transactions at Tianguis 2019 in comparison to last year’s event in Mazatlán. The secretary also mentioned the growth of medical tourism and an achievable goal of 43 million cruise passengers to arrive in Mexico.

A great emphasis is being placed on attracting the high number of travelers from the Asian markets with a top priority in wooing visitors from China and India. "Mexico is only getting only 150,000 visitors of 150 million global tourists from China. This is an area where we feel that there is a great opportunity for improvement. We are planning meetings with the Chinese embassy in Mexico City asking Chinese officials to showcase Mexico to their tour operators and we will attend travel conventions in China," said Torruco.

As the conference hosts, Acapulco and the state of Guerrero played a leading role in the event.  Dating back to post World War II, Acapulco is Mexico's first tourism destination. The list of esteemed visitors to this grand beach destination includes JFK, Frank Sinatra, Howard Hughes, and the Clintons.

Ernesto Rodriguez Escalona, secretary of tourism from the host state of Guerrero, addressed the attending media mentioning, "We are creating a new image of Acapulco and our state with a new government in place. With an investment above 2 billion pesos, Grupo Autofin Mexico and Mundo Imperial will drive the tourism of health, cultural, sporting and entertainment, as well as human talent in Acapulco. Recently, we welcomed over 5,000 cruise ship passengers on the Norwegian Bliss. The Mexican Open tennis tournament held each year in Acapulco is now one of the world's leading events, so we are increasing the stadium to three times bigger.”

“We are rewriting the new story of Acapulco and our state with a more modern and bigger airport with nine new flights from Canada and six from the U.S.  Princess Hospital will boost medical tourism with a new a new world class hospital. Also a significant investment in new highways, unique attractions, and private investments of 3,000 million dollars in hotels and infrastructure. We are creating new bicycle paths and expanding eco-tourism. We have Xtasea the world's largest over the water zipline. We also are promoting our beautiful resort area of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo," said Rodriguez.

As for safety concerns, "security is a worldwide problem, not just in Mexico, but I can assure you that there are very few bad incidents involving tourists in Acapulco, the state of Guerrero or in all of Mexico," mentioned Secretary Rodriguez. The secretary ended with, "we aim to make each Tianguis better than the last."

In an effort to promote Mexico's rich inland culture a promotional tourism agreement was signed by the five states of Guanajuato, Zacatecas, Jalisco, San Luis Potosi, and D.F. Mexico City. One marketing plan to promote the five states. A plan to get travelers to discover new regions rich in the experiences and encounters with locals of an authentic Mexico.

As experiential experiences are on the rise globally, the message is that there is more to Mexico than sun and beach holidays. "Mexico has so much more to offer in terms of culture. In Guanajuato, we have one of the world's favorite cities of San Miguel Allende; 6 Pueblos Magicos are within 30 minutes, five archeological sites, wine routes, mescal routes, and the Cooking Mothers who prepare home-cooked meals from recipes handed down from their mothers and grandmothers," said Secretary of tourism for the state of Guanajuato Maria Teresa Matamoros Montes.

Mexico's newest sun-splashed beach destination of Riviera Nayarit hosted a foreign press luncheon combining the cooking talents of Nayarit native celebrity chef Betty Vasquez paired with local Acapulco star-chef Eduardo Palazuelos.  "Our 192 miles of sunny coastline offers some of the best beaches in Mexico, and many new hotel brands are planning expansion in the area," said Richard Zarkin, public relations manager for Riviera Nayarit."

At a press conference leading hotelier, AMResorts mentioned the importance of Mexico to its brand and a cornerstone of its growth strategy. "Despite the challenges present in the market, expansion throughout Mexico remains one of our major priorities," said Alex Zozaya, CEO of parent Apple Leisure Group and AMResorts.At the "Passing the Baton" event cocktail party, the 45th addition of Tianguis in 2020 will be held in Merida, the vibrant capital of the state of Yucatan.

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