Mexico Tourism Board Congratulates World Heritage Alliance on its 2nd Anniversary

By: MP News Staff 

The Mexico Tourism Board extends its congratulations to the World Heritage Alliance (WHA) on its 2nd anniversary and welcomes its new members. The WHA is an industry-leading initiative that was jointly formed by Expedia® and the UN Foundation in 2005 to promote sustainable tourism and awareness of World Heritage sites and communities around the world. Mexico is home to 27 natural and cultural World Heritage sites, protected under the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention. In March 2006, Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism and the Mexico Tourism Board became the first governmental organizations to partner with the World Heritage Alliance. World Heritage Alliance members pledge to: educate individual travelers and the travel industry about the importance of responsible tourism and World Heritage conservation; encourage community-based sustainable tourism development in and around World Heritage sites; and spread the word about the unique value of cultural and natural World Heritage sites.

In 2007, the Mexico Tourism Board accomplished a number of activities to promote Mexico’s World Heritage Sites. One was through the framework of the Mexico Now Festival, which aims to present contemporary and traditional Mexican artists to New Yorkers. In September, the MTB organized a panel on the four Maya World Heritage Sites: Calakmul, Uxmal, Chichen Itza and Palenque. A Mexican archaeologist and an American Mayanist explained the richness of this amazing civilization to more than a 100 people interested in the Maya culture. In conjunction with this, it built www.mexicanworldheritage.com which includes information on the 27 Mexican World Heritage Sites, links to other websites, and a form to participate in a sweepstake. Two trips to Merida were raffled with stay in The Haciendas.

Promotional wise, the World Heritage Site of Chichen Itza was placed in the virtual world of Second Life at the beginning of the year, to date two million visitors have walked through the virtual world. The Pyramid has also been replicated and placed in different plazas around the country to promote our pre-Hispanic culture and traditions. The Mexico Tourism Board has also organized familiarization trips with media and travel agents to 25 of our 27 World Heritage Sites, including cities like Campeche, Tequila and Guanajuato.

This year it also published the bilingual edition of the Mexico World Heritage Sites Brochure. The second printing was supported by the Alliance, and 20,000 pieces are currently being distributed by Aeromexico and Mexicana Airlines.

The new Mexican WHA members are: Casona de la China Poblana Hotel Boutique; Estrella de Belem Bed & Breakfast & Spa; Hotel La Quinta Luna; Hotel Antigua Alquería de Carrión and Mesones Sacristia in the Mexican State of Puebla. Mexico Boutique Hotels which represents 44 small luxury hotels throughout Mexico, the Haciendas in the Yucatan Peninsula of Grupo Plan and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in Riviera Maya also joined returning members El Sueño Hotel and Spa in Puebla, the Mayaland Resorts Group in the Yucatan Peninsula; Paraiso de la Bonita Resort and Thalasso in Quintana Roo; Fairmont Hotels and Resorts which has properties in Acapulco and Riviera Maya; and Maroma Resort and Spa also in Riviera Maya.

The Mexico Tourism Board and Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR) are two of 21 associate partners — governmental bodies, civil society groups, trade associations or other private sector partners who provide services to advance the WHA mission such as consumer education, community development and technical training on sustainability issues. By the end of 2007, there were 50 members and partners of the World Heritage Alliance for Sustainable Tourism – up from 17 in 2006 including, Expedia Inc. and the UN Foundation. These members and partners will be working in 7 countries to aid in the conservation of at least 20 UNESCO World Heritage sites.

All members were recognized this week at a series of events in New York, including a dinner and symposium discussing major issues related to World Heritage and sustainable tourism. These new members and partners joined the Mexico Tourism Board along with 13 others in continuing the work of the WHA around the world. A full list of WHA members and partners can be found on the World Heritage Alliance website at: www.worldheritagealliance.org.

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