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The third edition of the Mundo Maya Tourist Fair, held in Merida, Mexico, hosted representatives from Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Chiapas who promoted the archaeological, natural and gastronomical richness of their regions. With the support of the Tourism Promotion Council, suppliers and buyers created commercial agreements with regional companies and entrepreneurs.
As one of the event’s highlights, Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism Gloria Guevara Manzo announced a new program designed to increase tourism and promote the Maya legacy in Mexico throughout the next year. The campaign, titled Mayan World 2012, supports Mexico’s goal to become one of the top-five most visited countries in the world.
“The Maya culture permits a connection between past and future, and is a major contribution to the world of the Mexican people,” said Guevara. “The upcoming tourism promotion around 2012 will focus its attention on Maya sites, such as Chichen Itza. These sites will whet travelers’ appetites for information about the 5,000-year Maya calendar that comes to an end late next year."
As a joint effort with the campaign, Mexico is making an aggressive infrastructure investment in roads and facilities aimed at improving access to the various archaeological sites within Mexico’s Mayan World. The government will likely continue to promote events in the region, which is home to six of the country’s 27 UNESCO World Heritage sites, until the end of the Maya calendar on Dec. 21 of next year.
“The big surprise in respect to 2012, as seen from Europe, is that they have their eyes on the Yucatan and the Maya world as the epicenter of a cry to the answer they have sought to find in other cultures,” explained researcher Alberto Haggar of The Yucatan Times.
Haggar, who gave a lecture on misconceptions of Maya culture, explained that when speaking of the end of a katun cycle (a specific unit of time within the Maya calendar), the Mayas stressed the need to regenerate the planet and return to basic premises such as caring for the environment and respecting others.
“As Yucatecans, we are in the eye of the hurricane, so we must put aside the false stories that are part of fear, ignorance and fanaticism and do not represent the reality of what that civilization was,” said Haggar.
Through restoring old archeological sites and opening new ones, hosting international expositions and promoting the region’s traditional gastronomy, the Mexican government hopes to not only improve cultural offerings but to significantly increase tourism to the region in the year to come.