Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón Speaks at the 2008 Tianguis Turístico in Acapulco

Acapulco, Mexico – Mexican President , Felipe Calderon closed the 33rd annual Tianguis Turistico in Acapulco by reasserting that Mexico will be a major world tourist destination and that his government will convert the country into one of the biggest power players in the tourism industry. Calderon plans on accomplishing this by investing in infrastructure, attracting more foreign investment, diversifying destination offerings, expanding Internet facilities and reinforcing security.

The president predicted an excellent year for tourism despite the “economic turbulence” within the U.S. economy over the past year. Mexico depends on the U.S. for almost 80 percent for its international trade. He also mentioned that in 2007, an additional 100,000 foreign tourists visited Mexico compared with the previous year, and that in 2007, the economic influx was $700 million more than in 2006.

Likewise, he emphasized that in the first 16 months of his government, the private foreign investment in tourism was over $5,500 million; half the amount collected in the previous six years.

Calderon also explained that Mexico is actively concentrating on diversifying its tourist offering beyond the traditional sun and sea to highlight other products such as cultural, archeological, crafts, gastronomical and religious tourism.

“In every one of these activities there is a huge potential that the country is obligated to take advantage of,” said President Calderon.

Calderon also emphasized the infrastructure plans that his government is working on to reinforce the tourism sector. The plans include the opening of three new airports and the amplification of 31 others. In addition, 11 new cruise docks are planned, adding to the two already built this presidential period, plus the modernization, by 2012, of roads and highways that unite important cities and tourist centers.

Furthermore, he mentioned credit programs for medium and small tourist businesses. By the end of 2008 the credit programs will have benefited more than 2,000 small tourist businesses, who will have authorized credit account receivables of more than 2,000 million pesos (a little more than $191 million).

The president also underlined the launch of the web page “Ventana Unica” that will allow any person, in any part of the world, to reserve and buy fully guaranteed airline tickets, lodging, packages and tourist services in Mexico.

Regarding the necessity to guarantee the security of tourists and Mexicans, the president said that his government “has acted, and will continue to act, with firmness to recuperate the security of the entire national territory so that order may prevail in the tourist zones.”

As an example, Calderon explained how these actions have achieved results in Acapulco given that in the first three months of 2008, crimes associated with gangs decreased by 65 percent compared to the first trimester of 2007.

Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, Rodolfo Elizondo Torres, speaking earlier in the same closing ceremony, pointed out that the Tianguis Turistico in Acapulco has positioned itself as one of the main platforms of the destinations, products and tourist developments of Latin America.

He emphasized that almost 500 businesses exhibited during the Tianguis, representing a turnout of 11 percent more than in 2007. He also said that for the first time, tour operators and wholesalers from China and Russia – important transmitter markets – attended the show.

About the Mexico Tourism Board
The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) brings together the resources of federal and state governments, municipalities and private companies to promote Mexico’s tourism attractions and destinations internationally. Created in 1999, the MTB is Mexico’s tourism promotion agency, and its participants include members of both the private and public sectors. The MTB has offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America.