The sight of a boa constrictor draped over an exhibitor’s
shoulders rated barely a glance. The crowd was far more interested
in platters of paella at a nearby stand. Over-stimulated and
exhausted from late-night parties, the attendees at Mexico’s
Tianguis Turistico 2005 fueled their bodies with whatever was at
hand, gladly accepting free ice-cream cones, shots of tequila and
It takes a lot of energy to truly experience Mexico’s annual
tourism show, held this year April 10-13 in steamy Acapulco. Sunday
night’s opening fiesta on the lawns of the classy Fairmont Acapulco
Princess celebrated the 30th anniversary of Tianguis, which never
fails to challenge and excite participants. Some 2,080 sellers and
1,286 buyers negotiated contracts and commitments over the next few
days and nights.
Scenes from throughout Mexico were replicated at the Acapulco
Convention Center, where destinations and businesses competed for
attention. Tour operators described train journeys in Yucatan’s
Maya-inspired meeting room; sales managers raved about spas in mock
hotel lobbies. Dancers twirled in crowded aisles beside
kaleidoscopic displays promoting Veracruz and Michoacan. According
to organizers, more than 19,000 meetings were arranged before
Tianguis began (though buyers often had trouble finding sellers and
schedules fell apart). Agents, journalists and meeting planners
stuffed posters, sales kits, brochures and souvenirs into shopping
bags dangling from weary arms.
Mexico launched a new brand at Tianguis, updating the logo
design that has been used by the Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR)
since 1997. The Mexican Tourism Board (MTB) and Sectur will use the
new logo in marketing and branding materials, and are encouraging
its use throughout the tourism sector.
“Now Mexico has a brand identity that truly communicates our
country’s positioning as unique, diverse and welcoming,” said
Francisco Ortiz, CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board.
Seminars at Tianguis focused on low-cost airlines and Mexico’s
increasing promotion within Asia. John McCarthy, the managing
director of Fonatur (Mexico’s National Tourism Trust), outlined the
agency’s major projects for thefollowing year. Fonatur’s proposed
Escalera Nautica (Nautical Ladder) series of marinas along the gulf
coasts of Baja and the mainland is now called the Sea of Cortez
Project. Puerto Los Cabos, a new marina outside San Jose del Cabo
that’s part of the ladder, is projected to open in Fall 2006.
Fonatur is also developing a resort area in Nayarit just north of
Punta Mita and another on the southern Caribbean coast in the Costa
During a gourmet breakfast at the Villa Vera Hotel, buff
performers presented Starwood Hotels’ WestinWORKOUT Powered by
Reebok, a fitness program rolling out at Westin hotels in Los
Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun.
At the convention center, Sol Melia announced the opening of a
hip Nikki Beach Club at the Melia San Lucas in Cabo San Lucas, and
an alliance with Warner Brothers to bring Flintstones characters to
kids clubs at Melias in Cozumel, Ixtapa and Puerto Vallarta.
Pueblo Bonito touted the April opening of its Pacifica Holistic
Retreat & Spa in Los Cabos, sure to please the Hollywood
Tianguis officials claimed more than two-thirds of all
negotiations discussed during last year’s Tianguis 2004 resulted in
deals. Chances are good many of those arrangements were sealed long
after the meeting halls closed for the day. Coveted invites to
cocktail and dinner parties in private villas overlooking Acapulco
Bay were distributed to valued agents and operators. Tables at
Baikal, El Faro and other chic restaurants were in high demand for
special wining and dining sessions. Acapulco’s famed nightlife
scene was in full swing as tourism officials crooned ballads at the
piano bar in Syboney and hard-working agents danced the night away
at Baby O disco.
As President Vicente Fox presided over the closing ceremonies,
attendees were happy to rest their backs and soles in the
convention center’s air-conditioned theater and prepare for the
night’s last dance. At least until next year.