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The giant Carnival statues are back in Mazatlán in preparation for this week's tourism fair. The giant Carnival statues are back in Mazatlán in preparation for this week's tourism fair.

Mazatlán prepares for big travel trade show

International travel show will bring delegates from 54 countries

Mexico’s largest tourism industry event starts Sunday in the Pacific coast city of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, where thousands of travel representatives will gather to promote and discuss one of the country’s most important sectors.

The 43rd annual edition of the Tianguis Turístico will welcome companies and tourism personnel from 54 countries as well as key figures from the domestic industry and federal and state politicians.

The travel trade show will be held at the Mazatlán International Center and concludes Wednesday, April 18.

A key focus for the Mexico Tourism Board at this year’s event will be promoting the “Mundo Maya” (Maya World) initiative that aims to increase visitor numbers to the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Yucatán.

Collectively, the five states are home to 47 different indigenous groups and also feature a wealth of cultural, archeological, gastronomic and natural attractions.

The event will also host a handicrafts exhibition and the national photography competition “México en una imagen” (Mexico in one image) will be officially launched.

For many, however, the highlight of the Tianguis will be a performance by Canadian company Cirque du Soleil of its Mexico-inspired show “Luzia: A waking dream of Mexico.”

Cirque du Soleil president Daniel Lamarre, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and American Airlines CEO Doug Parker will be among the most prominent international attendees at the four-day event.

Almost 70 CEOs from companies including Air Canada Vacations, American Airlines Vacations, Apple Leisure Group, Classic Vacations, Expedia, Trip Advisor and WestJet have also confirmed they will attend and organizers hope that governors of 19 states will make an appearance.

President Enrique Peña Nieto will officially open the Tianguis Turístico Sunday along with Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid and the CEO of the Mexico Tourism Board, Héctor Flores Santana.

Flores Santana told the newspaper Milenio that “a few days out from the opening of the Tianguis Turístico we’re delighted with the registration of 204 national companies, 477 international companies and 1,100 purchasers, as well as 37,800 business appointments.”

“Our expectation is that it will generate an economic spillover of more than 350 million pesos [almost US $19.3 million] and hotel occupation will be at 100%.  Without a doubt, these figures reflect the interest . . . in [Mexican] tourism from the entire industry, that will definitely benefit our country,” he added.

Flores Santana also highlighted that the performance of Luzia at the event will be its Mexico premiere and emphasized that the value of the partnership with Cirque du Soleil cannot be underestimated because it combines a positive image of Mexico with that of a globally-renowned company.

Mexico is currently the world’s eight most visited country, receiving almost 40 million foreign visitors last year who spent just over US $21.3 billion while they were in the country.

However, there are ambitious plans to grow the sector even further.

Announcing last year’s figures in February, Tourism Secretary de la Madrid said Mexico could reach 50 million annual visitors by 2021, which would likely make Mexico the world’s fifth most popular tourism destination.

But earlier this week, he said attaining the No. 5 spot might come even sooner. He said preliminary data indicates Mexico will jump from last year’s eighth place to sixth place in 2018 rather than seventh as had been predicted, overtaking Germany and the United Kingdom.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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