MEXICO CITY, Mexico – Mexican President Felipe Calderon announced the launch of “Mundo Maya 2012” (Mayan World 2012), a program to increase tourism and promote the Mayan Culture Legacy in Mexico through 2012.
“Today we are the 10th power for tourism in the world, and we are working hard to be in the top five,” Calderon said at the announcement of the campaign. “We want the world to know the splendors of the Mayan civilization, with the end goal of positioning Mexico as a privileged and unique touristic destination.”
Between now and Dec. 21, 2012, when the Mayan calendar officially ends, the Mexican government will promote a variety of events in southeastern Mexico’s “Mayan World,” made up of the states Campeche, Chiapas, Tabasco, Quintana Roo and Yucatan. This region is home to six of Mexico’s 27 UNESCO World Heritage sites, the most found in any one country.
“This effort looks to give an unprecedented boost to touristic activity in the country’s southeastern states, where this incredible civilization was established,” said Calderon. “We want tourists from Mexico and the world to know Mexico. We want them to explore the unrivaled riches that this magical region has to offer.”
An aggressive infrastructure investment in roads and facilities will improve access to the various archeological sites within Mexico’s Mayan World, as well as develop projects to better showcase the Mayan Culture Legacy. Among the many enhancement projects being developed throughout the country as part of this campaign, Mexico is building “Palace of Maya Civilization” and Museo del Mundo Maya. It is expected that “Palace of Maya Civilization” will capture 20 percent of the 4,000 tourists who visit the site of Chichen Itza daily, while the museum of Mundo Maya is expected to receive 300,000 visitors per year, according to projections of Cultur (Board Of Units Of Cultural And Tourist Services Of The State Of Yucatan). Similar infrastructure projects are expected to be developed in Chiapas, Campeche and Quintana Roo.
“The celebration of the end of the Mayan calendar’s cycle is an extraordinary opportunity to promote the great cultural, historical and human heritage that we posses,” said Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism Gloria Guevara Manzo. “We are so excited to share the unique Mayan culture with the world.”
Through hosting international expositions, conferences, and meetings with leading researchers and specialists, the government hopes to increase tourism to the region, which currently receives an average of 250,000 visitors a month. To improve the region’s cultural offerings, they will restore old archeological sites and open new ones, as well as promote dance festivals, concerts, theatrical performances and the region’s traditional gastronomy. The hope is that the increased tourism will create jobs and stimulate the region both economically and socially.
This focused campaign supports Mexico’s ambitious goal of becoming one of the top-five most visited countries in the world. It is estimated that 52 million tourists will visit southeastern Mexico through 2012, spending approximately $23 million.