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If you want to know about Acapulco’s past and future as a tourism destination, ask Piquis Rochin. The head of international promotion at Acapulco Convention & Visitors Bureau, she has seen Acapulco’s evolution from its star-studded role as Mexico’s first jet-set vacation hot spot to a violent city worth avoiding to what it is now: a city that’s attracting more investment and aims to parlay that into more visitors.
“A lot of private investors have shown their faith in the evolution of Acapulco,” she said. “We’re trying to show the world that innovations are going to attract all kinds of new tourists. We want them to come and see the innovations — the perception versus the reality. We keep hearing [stories] from eight, nine years ago. People need to see the new attractions and that it’s absolutely safe.”
As the host of this year’s Tianguis Turistico — Mexico’s annual tourism conference — the city of Acapulco showcased a variety of new developments.
“We want people to see the true side of Acapulco,” Rochin said.
Following are 10 reasons tourism officials are betting on tourism growth in Acapulco.
There’s a new record-breaking attraction.During this year’s Tianguis, some attendees were treated to a look at the inaugural “flight” of Grupo Autofin’s Xtasea, which is billed as the world’s longest overwater zipline. Reaching speeds of up to 75 miles per hour at an altitude of 328 feet, the ride soars over Puerto Marques Bay.
A big project is in the works. Xtasea is one of the first components of Grupo Autofin’s so-called “Master Plan,” a $1 billion investment that will include a number of developments, including hotels, condominiums, a shopping center, a medical center for medical tourism, retirement homes, an eco-amusement park called Aventura Guerrero and a new tennis stadium. These projects are to be completed between by 2022, creating an estimated 10,000 new jobs.
More hotels are arriving. In addition to the hotels planned by Grupo Autofin, Posadas has confirmed plans to build Grand Fiesta Americana Acapulco Diamante, a 428-room property located next to the upscale La Isla shopping center. An opening date has not been announced.
Existing properties are sprucing up. Renovation is planned for Princess Mundo Imperial, as well as at the Crowne Plaza Acapulco, which is spending $8.5 million on upgrades.
Transportation is improving. This spring marked the opening of Macrotunnel, a $200 million tunnel that connects Acapulco’s Golden and Diamond zones, cutting travel time between the newer and older parts of the destination by eliminating the need to take the cliff-hugging old highway.
Occupancy is up. The Acapulco Destination Marketing Office said that this past year was one of the destination’s most successful winter seasons in the last few years. Average hotel occupancy was 95 percent for Dec. 20–31 and 80 percent during the Mexican holiday weekend of Feb. 4-6.
Cruises are on the rise. According to tourism officials, the number of cruise calls this year is surging 64 percent over last year’s figures. Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Oceania Cruises are among the lines that make up the 28 calls taking place this year — a jump from 18 cruise ships during 2016.
The airport is improving. Next year, Acapulco is to debut a brand-new, 194,000-square-foot airport terminal, a facility that’s nearly double the current terminal’s size, with a capacity to process 1.8 million visitors per year.
Big events are big draws. Earlier this year, Acapulco hosted the Telcel Mexican Tennis Open. Still to come are the Vans Surf Open, which takes place in July and is hosted by World Surf League on Revolcadero Beach, and Corona SunSets, a beach party and concert slated for July at Princess Mundo Imperial. Scheduled for Dec. 2-4 at Hotel Pierre Mundo Imperial is Tropico, a three-day festival with music, fashion shows and culinary events.
Safety is a priority. The government operates training programs for the State Police and has created a Tourist Assistance and Protection Center, where visitors can get information and report any concerns.
Want to catch up on country-wide news? Read the author’s report from the 2017 Tianguis Turistico.