The Importance of Tianguis: One-on-One With Sergio Salmeron
On March 22, Tianguis Turistico, Mexico’s largest and most important annual tourism conference, kicks off in Acapulco for the first time since 2011. Approximately $20 million has been invested in the city’s tourism infrastructure in preparation for Tianguis. In an interview, Sergio Salmeron, who was appointed secretary of tourism for the state of Guerrero late last year, provides details on the city’s renaissance, as well as the latest tourism developments throughout Acapulco and the entire state.
TravelPulse: How important is the Tianguis conference to Acapulco, and for that matter, Guerrero?
Sergio Salmeron: Tianguis is an important platform to develop partnerships, generate awareness about the destination and showcase our unique tourism offers. It is an important event for the commercial development of Guerrero, in which tourism is a major source of revenue.
TP: How has Acapulco changed since 2011?
SS: Acapulco is in a transformational phase. In the past four years, we’ve seen the city bloom with new private and public investments like the Mundo Imperial Complex, which includes a forum, resort, expo and promenade; the re-opening of Hotel Encanto; the development of Turtle Dunes Country Club and Golf Course; and the renovation of some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including Diana Circle, Caleta & Caletilla beaches, the Zócalo, La Roqueta and various points along the Costera and Miguel Aleman.
La Quebrada, for example, now has a larger viewing space able to accommodate 250 more people to see the divers, for a total of 1,750 viewers per show. Our airport will also soon be outfitted with a new terminal equipped to receive approximately 1 million passengers per year. As far as transportation, we will now also have a macro tunnel connecting the Diamante area and the traditional zone.
This is just the beginning.
Grupo Posadas is investing in the construction of a new Fiesta Americana Grand in the Diamante Zone. The hotel will have 350 luxury rooms, three themed pools, meeting spaces and four specialty restaurants. We are also expecting a new cutting-edge development of luxury residences and a private beach club from the Real Estate Group GIG, and a large-scale shopping center funded by Grupo Carso, including cinemas, restaurants and an aquarium, adding yet another option for families traveling to the port. Vidanta, which manages the hotel Mayan Palace, will construct a new tower of luxury villas that will function independently from the hotel. The development is slated for late 2015.
El Rollo, which recently acquired the aquatic park CICI, announced that it will build a small hotel on the premises and remodel the park’s facilities. Additionally, Mundo Imperial resorts will open 400 additional rooms for a total of 814 rooms.
Fort of San Diego will now have a cultural center to showcase the history and culture of the eight regions Guerrero. Our award-winning hotel, Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués is currently developing a residential project.
One thing that remains unchanged, however, is Acapulco’s natural beauty.
TP: What’s new in terms of developments in other parts of Guerrero?
SS: Taxco is in the second phase of the development, Ciudad Luz (City of Light), which will add illumination to the town’s historic center. The Cultural Center, Casa Borda, is being equipped to become the first national silver museum of Mexico. Also in Taxco, a multimedia projection will be displayed at some of the town’s most iconic monuments.
TP: What distinguishes Guerrero from other Mexican states in terms of tourism offerings?
SS: Guerrero captivates tourists with its exquisite gastronomy and unmatched natural scenery. Each of the state’s tourist destinations bears a different gift for travelers. Acapulco offers legendary glamour and adrenaline-pumping activities like diving, surfing and sport fishing. Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo inspire relaxation with soothing natural surroundings, coastal hospitality and excellent opportunities for adventure, like hiking and kayaking. In Taxco, visitors will enjoy a traditional Mexican experience. The colonial town is known for its silver mines, artisanal work and charming architecture.
Guerrero is filled with many beautiful destinations, such as Saladita, Troncones Beaches and The Bays of Papanoa, which afford travelers myriad vacation options. The Bays of Papanoa, for example, are home to beautiful beaches like Ojo de Agua, Cayaquitos, Piedra del Tlacoyunque and Puerto Vicente Guerrero. This coastal area, which forms part of the region of Costa Grande, is located between Acapulco and Zihuatanejo. The area is ideal for green tourism, ecotourism, camping and surfing.
TP: What are your priorities as the new secretary of tourism for Guerrero?
SS: We are proud of the success of last year’s tourism initiatives and our main priority is to continue attracting visitors and investors while promoting our culture, gastronomy and natural resources. Some of our main objectives are to increase hotel occupancy across all of Guerrero’s tourism destinations, develop new tourism products and services and diversify the state’s tourism offerings.
We are also working to develop a hotel-school for hospitality and tourism students with the collaboration of Guerrero’s university, Universidad Autónoma. This project will help us elevate the level of service and provide the necessary training to those in the hospitality industry. We will also develop an office to analyze tourism statistics and develop studies to help us better market the destination.
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