Guerrero and federal tourism authorities have withdrawn a tourism promotion video for Acapulco amid claims that it struck the wrong tone as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage.
“Since 1930 Acapulco has made its own rules, … Acapulco is an icon of global tourism. Today we stop being a postcard from the past, today we change the rules,” begins the video’s voice-over.
“In fact there are no rules: eat what you want; have fun at day, night and in the small hours; wear what you want; … invite who you want; … relax on your own or with company; redefine yourself and share your craziness; … fall in love without limits. Here you can be whoever you want to be or you can be yourself. … Make lots of friends and new loves,” the voice-over continues.
Featuring fair-skinned and apparently affluent young people, the video concludes with a woman saying (in English), “Mom, I’m in Acapulco.”
Acapulco and Guerrero tourism authorities and the federal Tourism Ministry (Sectur) posted the video to social media on Tuesday but subsequently erased the posts amid criticism that a pandemic is not the time to promote the disregard of rules.
The video was made by an advertising agency for the Acapulco Tourism Promotion Trust and the Guerrero Tourism Ministry but was condemned by Governor Héctor Astudillo.
“I regret the mistaken promotional campaign for Acapulco,” he wrote on Twitter, labeling the video “untimely, insensitive and imprudent” given that the coronavirus pandemic is still hitting Mexico, and Guerrero, hard.
“Visitors, as we have always said, we’re waiting for you here #WhenThisPasses,” the governor added.
Gerardo Herrera, a marketing academic at the Iberoamericana University, told the newspaper El País that the video had good intentions – to attract more young people to Acapulco, according to the Guerrero government – but was poorly executed.
He said the video amounted to a “call to imprudence and excess” and given that the world is going through a pandemic, it’s not the right time to do that.
“At no time does it mention safety and the [coronavirus mitigation] measures with which tourism must be reactivated,”Herrera said. “The message that should be given is one of safety.”
The academic agreed with the many Twitter users who also complained that the video was directed at upper-class, privileged Mexicans who can afford to take a luxurious beach holiday while millions struggle to survive the sharp coronavirus-induced economic downturn.
“It’s a message directed to a premium sector [of the market] when it should be more inclusive and directed to all social strata,” Herrera said.
Sectur distanced itself from the video, saying that Acapulco and Guerrero authorities were in charge of the campaign and that it merely shared it on social media.
Sectur said in a statement that it disseminated the Acapulco video via its social networks “as occurs with all the promotion campaigns that the country’s different tourism destinations carry out.”
The Tourism Ministry added that it decided to remove the video from its social media accounts due to the “various reactions” it generated.
Acapulco’s hotels, beaches, and restaurants reopened to tourists in early July after remaining closed for three months due to coronavirus restrictions but visitor numbers to the Pacific coast resort city remain low.