Tourism officials in Mexico are expecting record number of visitors next year after the number of tourists increased by 7% in 2012. Most are coming across the border from the United States with official figures showing that 80% are coming from North America of which 58% are from the United States.
The Mexican Tourism Board is now looking to boost the number of visitors from other countries and talking to airlines about potential new routes and better connectivity. Officials have also been working to dispel perceptions that Mexico is a violent country. ‘When you are a tourist to Mexico and you are not visiting a border city, you are far away from trouble. If there is something going on in Chicago, you are not going to cancel your trip to Los Angeles because it is very far away. It’s the same thing in Mexico,’ said a spokesman.
‘We are not denying that there are problems, but the country is very large, with 2,500 municipalities, and problems in only 5% of those municipalities. For instance, when visitors travel to the Yucatan Peninsula or Mexico City, they are 2,000 miles away from trouble spots,’ he added.
The Mexico Tourism Board has been named the first ever Virtuoso Tourism Board of the Year award, by the luxury travel brand. This was for its ‘bold diversification and promotion strategy, creative advertising campaigns, and robust industry partnerships’. Meanwhile, a top hotel in Mexico city has launched a series of tours for visitors which it says gives them access to museums and places of interest that even locals don’t get a chance to experience.
The Four Seasons Hotel Mexico says that the tours include the architecture of Luis Barragan, contemporary Mexican design and the Lucha Libre, the so called People’s Circus. Barragan was one of the most important Mexican architects of the twentieth century and the only one to be awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1980. His constructions are frequently visited by students and university professors of architecture from around the world.
Quote from Gringos.com : “Mexico is asking for help from the US so as not to have a travel warning put into place during spring break this year. Mexican officials are afraid of loosing too much tourist trade if the warning is published.”
The Convent of the Capuchinas is one of his masterpieces while another is Gilardi House, widely recognised as one of the few commendable examples of contemporary religious architecture and one of his last projects. His own home and studio Casa Barragan was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 because it integrates both modern and traditional artistic trends in a new format.
The Lucha Libre, which means literally free fight, is described as one of the most interesting social phenomena of recent years. Regarded as the Circus of the People, it uses brightly coloured masks that embody good and evil while a guide accompanies guests and explains the rules of the wrestling shows.
For history lovers, the five hour Teotihuacan Pyramids tour goes to Mexico’s most popular archaeological site and can be coupled with a visit to the Monastery of Acolman or the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Other tours take in colonial architecture at Cuernavaca-Taxco, known as nation’s silver capital, Puebla, the city of tiles and religious artefacts, as well as the Mayan culture.