Despite being one of Mexico’s most violent states, Guerrero is getting a lot of attention at this year’s tourism showcase in Mazatlán, where its pavilion is proving to be extremely popular.
The state government was quick to latch on to the news, releasing a statement boasting that the Guerrero pavilion at the 43rd Tianguis Turístico received more visitors than that of any other state on the first day of the four-day event.
Built by artisans from the municipalities of Tepecoacuilco, Taxco and Chilapa using a palm weaving technique, the 486-square-meter pavilion is eye-catching, colorful and the temporary home for 76 exhibitors, the largest contingent Guerrero has sent to any tourism trade show outside Acapulco.
The name of the Pacific coast state features prominently across its façade.
Speaking at the event, Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo Flores recognized that if there were greater security in the state, its tourism-oriented economy would grow more quickly.
However, he added that tourism numbers had nevertheless grown considerably during Enrique Peña Nieto’s presidency, both in Guerrero and the rest of the country.
Acapulco, the state’s most famous tourist destination, has been plagued by violent crime in recent years to such an extent that United States newspaper the Washington Post last year described the port city as Mexico’s murder capital.
A United States citizen was killed in Ixtapa late last year, further damaging the state’s international reputation.
Federal Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid said yesterday that the greatest challenge for Mexico’s tourist destinations is to reduce crime levels. Los Cabos, La Paz and Cancún have also seen significant spikes in violent crime.
Astudillo also said that he was in favor of a proposal put forward by presidential candidate José Antonio Meade to return Mexico’s largest tourism industry event to Acapulco on a permanent basis.
The governor cited Acapulco, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Taxco as the state’s three most important tourism attractions and said that he was hopeful that Guerrero’s participation in this year’s Tianguis Turístico would lead to increased visitor numbers.
Opening the event yesterday, Peña Nieto said he was “very confident” that Mexico is now the world’s sixth most popular tourist destination.
Almost 40 million international visitors came to Mexico last year but authorities are targeting 50 million annual visitors by 2021.