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Nov/Dec 2011 Issue

Mexico Tourism’s COO: We are safe and strong

If Rodolfo López Negrete Coppel, chief operating officer of Mexico’s Tourism Board, was tired from making the rounds in the U.S. to talk about traveling to his country, he wasn’t showing it. Recently in St. Louis, Mo., to meet with incentive travel planners, Negrete Coppel relaxed in his chair and talked about new tourism initiatives, the efforts to change perceptions about crime in Mexico and the high level of satisfaction surveyed travelers expressed about the country.

The “World of the Mayas” is the initiative Mexico has launched to tell travelers the country offers much more than gorgeous beaches and resorts.

“Although many people would like to believe it will be the end of an era,” he said in reference to the date Dec. 21, 2012, on the Maya calendar, “the interpretation we have is a beginning of a new era, one that is full of growth.”

The board is working closely with the five states that have Mayan sites–Campeche, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Yucatan–to highlight the incredible cultural and historical offerings there.

As the year of Maya culture continues, tourism types hope the work done in 2011 to assuage any uneasiness travelers may feel concerning crime in northern Mexican border towns has been successful.

“Obviously, it has tarnished the image of Mexico as a whole, but remember that Mexico is the size of Western Europe. Any event that’s happened along the border is 800 miles away from Puerto Vallarta,” said Negrete Coppel. “Mexico is safe, strong, stable and easy to travel to.”

And according to recent surveys of travelers to Mexico, 97 percent were very satisfied with their experience, and 99 percent said they’d recommend Mexico to friends, he added.

Hawaii makes list of Top 16 Places

Americans looking for adventure vacations turn to Hawaii. Three of the islands ranked among the Top 10 in the recent U.S. News and World Report’s list, “16 Best Adventure Vacations in the USA” (Kauai, No. 3; Maui, No. 4, Hawaii, No. 7).

And six Hawaiian islands were listed in the book, “1,000 Places to See Before You Die,” the second printing of which is due to hit bookshelves in December.

If Hawaii is on your list of places to visit, let a AAA Travel professional help you plan your dream vacation. For information about Hawaiian getaways, visit your nearest AAA Travel office, click on AAA.com/travel or call (888) 366-4222.

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Mexico is promoting its rich Maya culture in 2012. AAA file photo


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