More About Tianguis and Mexico Travel

David Simmonds

Now that I have had a few days to recover from Tianguis Turistico, and to reflect on the four-day event, I have decided that Mexico does a hell of a good job of accomplishing their purpose – bringing everyone involved in Mexico tourism together to get some business done. Having attended these for about ten years now I’m not sure that I have ever seen as many one-on-one meetings taking place between buyers and sellers and a general enthusiasm amongst all attendees.  Fellow Mexico Premiere ladies Lisa and Lola and I were amongst about 30 Americans and 13 Canadians who were invited by the Mexican government to attend press conferences and learn more about Mexico travel, with the hopes that we will help promote the country in the media. It’s an honor to be on the invitation list, and we take that responsibility seriously, but the truth is, we’re big Mexico fans and would be writing about the country anyway.

There was some grumbling from some of the press that our (media) importance has been diminished, that we aren’t as catered to as in the past, but for me I’m just happy to be there. I figure they owe me nothing, but instead I get a flight, an oceanfront hotel room with a great daily breakfast buffet overlooking one of the world’s most beautiful bays, and an ID badge to hang around my neck. We get a press room with computers and long distance phones and we learn more about Mexico travel. Did I mention parties and dinners every night where you can’t pay for a drink or food? No, I won’t complain about any of it. And neither should anyone else.

 As for Mexico tourism and what we can expect this year: I think it’s safe to say that the travel industry is going to have some challenges everywhere. Airlines are suffering with higher fuel costs, and fewer people have travel money to fill more hotel rooms. Europeans are enjoying a strong currency and will help somewhat, but in general it should be a relatively slow year. Of course Mexico has some advantages that always help: great weather, beautiful beaches, a fascinating culture, old-world colonial towns, and simply the nicest people I have encountered. The country has had  some bad press this past year to be sure, but unless you’re engaging in personal dealings with one of the drug cartels, you won’t be affected by the battles being waged.

My best advice for you if you are going to Mexico this year is to try something different. Look into the smaller boutique hotels for a change, many located in places you would not normally visit (see www.mexicoboutiquehotels.com), and check out the cheaper domestic airlines that have started in the past few years, servicing routes that the major carriers ignore. Or if you just want to sit, drink and chill, go back to that luxury resort on the beach and recharge. Just go.

6 thoughts on “More About Tianguis and Mexico Travel”

  1. David, it’s good to know you were happy to be at the event, but for those of us who were not invited, who are not regularly informed, Mexico tourism has a long, long way to go to keep people informed. This is not a not a new problem but things won’t get any better if they don’t make some changes.

    In this age of Web 2.0 technologies, Mexico is doing absolutely nothing to provide news via RSS, document events via Flickr or YouTube or acknowledge travelers and locals who are working on innovative collaborative work. I want to be fair and point out that most government tourism organizations are not savvy when it comes to the Web. They’re catching up to Web 1.0 while locals and travelers are already using Google Earth, Facebook and Wiki (in all its variations) to showcase what works.

  2. Mexico continues to receive unfavorable press, even warning travelers of safety risks, highway arrests and searches, etc. My question is whether it is not safe to drive on the main roads, are there certain border crossings that are particular targets of the drug cartels, etc. Would you then recommend air travel vs. driving, or specific areas of the country which are normally not affected. The press may well have over emphasized this issue, so would appreciate your opinion and any info you have…

    Thanks,

    Sharon

  3. Hi Sharon,
    The feds have a long history, in my opinion, of being a little too quick and alarmist with their travel warnings. The area around Rosarito Beach in Northern Baja has had a few incidents that were well-publicized concerning highway robberies. That has been addressed by the Mexican authorities and I wouldn’t hesitate to drive there now. As far as the drug cartels and the borders, the cartels fight each other and the police…they have shown little interest in targeting tourists. As far as air travel vs. driving: that should be decided by the person making the decision as to what works best for their trip. If you have the time to explore, driving is a great way to see the country. if you’re talking about a 5-day trip to a destination 1,000 miles away, obviously a plane makes more sense. If you’re driving, the toll roads are very safe, and not heavily traveled (most Mexicans can’t afford the toll). But driving the back roads is more fun and educational. I have personally driven tens of thousands of miles in Mexico and have never had a single safety problem. To the contrary I have been helped by locals many times when I have broken down, needed direction, etc. Too many of us now lives our lifes in fear…that’s not the way we used to be.

  4. I agree, Dave, Tianguis was a terrific fiesta as always, and I was grateful for the invitation. However, I was disappointed by the lack of conferences on topics such as the effects of global warming on travel, sustainable tourism, etc. The event could turn into a dinosaur if it doesn’t begin to address these realities. And that would be a crying shame.

  5. Sharon: I have traveled extensively in Mexico by public bus and never had any problems. Some of the new deluxe coaches are much more comfortable than airplanes, plus you can rest easier knowing that you’re leaving a smaller carbon footprint than you would have if you flew. Go greener, take the bus. That’s my recommendation.

  6. Thanks much! It was as I figured, much hoopla about nothing. Actually, having visited Mexico many times, I felt safer there than here in the U.S. Just wanted to be sure that it was not like here, with gangs, drive-bys, and random crime everywhere. I’ve been out after dark in small Mexican villages, large cities like Acapulco, Guadalajara, and Mexico City. Never had a problem, but since it has been a few years since then…good to know that things are OK!

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