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Tianguis 2002: Acapulco's tourism fair flaunts fun in the sun for all.

There's no denying that in the agitated world of travel and the gimmicky world of tourism, "Tianguis"--Mexico's international tourism trade fair in Acapulco, and the largest of its genre in Latin America--is a much-anticipated highlight.

This year, the event from April 21 to 24 saw 264 certified buyers from 29 different countries and 2,542 tourism service providers mixing work with improbable pleasure and relaxation.

Everyone, from low-rank dream peddlers to airline and hotel chain CEOs, was too cool to admit it, but you could see it in the busy way they walked and the clothes, hats and shades they carefully pressed and packed for the blinding climate of this hazy Pacific hub in the wilting peak of spring.

There was even a respite to the inevitable hierarchy divisions that prevent humble tour operators, journalists, PR types and hucksters of all persuasions from getting the ear of an untouchable executive without endless cringing faxes to his secretary. There were moments of free-for-all mingling.


This helps make Tianguis a success: having all the right business people there at the same time, and inviting professionals who know how to sell and re-sell.

This year, the consensus was that organization--thanks to sponsors Telmex and Amex, plus valuable input from airlines Aeromexico, Mexicana, Aerocaribe, Aerocalifomia, Aerolineas Intemacionales, Aeromar, Aviacsa, United, Avianca, Taca, JAL and Alaska--reached a new peak with an impressive new layout, a pavilion dedicated to ecotourism (2002 being the UN-declared year for this sector of the market) and a snappy series of seminars lined up with military precision.

And there was always something to pique ones interest and raise a smile among the fake palapa stands and cardboard Mayan temples. A gripping new tour in Veracruz designed for schoolteachers in Washington who want to know about Mexico's black roots sat opposite an immaculately produced display on "Hunting in Mexico" that made you feel you have the wildlife attractions of Kenya at your fingertips, but just didn't know it.

Edecanes (promotional models) remained an essential highlight and they really were adorable, hourglass curves on the Corona boat stand, at least as attractive as the ice-cold free beer they were handing out. I asked one why her tiny vest top said "Yatch" club. "Because it's a barco," she explained with exasperation.

"But it's spelled yacht," I ventured.

"I don't know who made it," she retorted turning to a man who was clearly panting to offer her less critical attention.


But poor spelling didn't get in the way of business appointments, which at an impressive number of 20,477 were 2.4 times more than the 8,452 last year, which meant, we were told, 12,000 additional business opportunities.

And of course, Tianguis was the opportunity to announce new investments, such as Fonatur's Golf & Resort in Cancun, with a budget of US$52 million to construct two new golf courses, a government investment of $250 million pesos in actions and specific programs for ecotourism, and plans to enhance the image of Manzanillo's historic center with an investment in public works of nearly $40 million pesos.

President Vicente Fox was at the closing ceremony and rounded out the upbeat event by reiterating his goal to increase the current amount of 20 million international tourist visits per year to 25 million by 2006.

Barbara Kastelein writes about Mexico travel and tourism for Fodor's Travel Publications, Conde Nast Traveller (UK) and the Sunday Express newspaper in London.
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Author:Kastelein, Barbara
Publication:Business Mexico
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:Jun 1, 2002
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