Mexico – Travel and Tourism News

By far one of the most popular cultural celebrations in the United States, Cinco de Mayo celebrates the courage and bravery of the Mexican people against the French in the Battle of Puebla. Frequently mistaken as Mexico’s Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo is not only a symbol of great pride for Mexicans, but also a popular unofficial holiday in the United States. Major cities around the country host a variety of parades, festivals, theme-parties and cultural events commemorating this important moment in Mexican history.

Following the devastating loss of the Mexican-American War in 1848, Mexico was both financially and morally defeated. On July 17, 1861, President Benito Juarez issued a moratorium in which all foreign-debt payments would be suspended for a period of two years. Creditors in Europe (England, Spain and France) did not approve of the move and decided that intervention was needed in order to collect the debts. Unbeknownst to the other two, France had its own agenda. Napoleon III, Emperor of the Second French Empire, had grandiose plans to impose a monarchical government upon the nations of Central and South America for the purposes of providing raw materials and trade for the European nations, as well as putting in check the growing power of the U.S. following the annexation of California, Arizona and New Mexico.

FOCUS ON PUEBLA
Founded in 1531, the gorgeous colonial city of Puebla is one of the oldest in Mexico. Located only 80 miles southeast of Mexico City and designed by the Spaniards using the symmetrical grid system, Puebla is very accessible to tourists. The locals, called “poblanos,” are also known for their warmth and hospitality.

Upon arriving in Puebla, the city’s colonial architecture is what first catches the newcomer’s eye. Puebla is renowned for its diverse architecture with numerous churches and museums, and one of Mexico’s most important cathedrals located in the city. Hand-painted tiles adorn the buildings of the city, adding to its color and historical richness.

Puebla´s magnificent historic center, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique beauty, offers a comprehensive background on the city’s local and national history. Its streets, churches and buildings are so breathtaking they are said to have been designed by an angel. Travelers can admire majestic churches and convents, colonial doorways and facades, picturesque plazas, patios and historic museums. Renowned landmarks include the cathedral, Palafox Library (the largest in Ibero-America on theology), the Museum of Natural History and Fort Loreto. Other structures in the area worth visiting include the Amparo and Bello museums, the National Railroad Museum and the Puebla Regional Museum of Viceregal Art.

MEXICO TOURISM BOARD ANNOUNCES THE SILVER QUILL AND SILVER LENS WINNERS

The Mexico Tourism Board has just chosen the winners of this year’s Silver Quill (Pluma de Plata) and Silver Lens (Lente de Plata) Awards, in recognition of those individuals whose articles, photographs, websites or documentaries best capture the essence of Mexico’s tourist appeal. Award categories included articles, travel guides, websites, short films, documentaries and photographs. A total of 216 submissions from 11 countries in seven languages were received.

The Silver Quill and Silver Lens Winners
http://www.visitmexicopress.com
mexicotravelnews@bm.com

THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART CELEBRATES MEXICO THIS SPRING

This spring, Washington DC’s premier art center, the National Gallery of Art, will host three events celebrating Mexico: two exhibits and a film series. The exhibits, the Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya and The Cubist Paintings of Diego Rivera, will be on display from April 4 to July 25, while the film series, Milestones in Mexican Cinema: 1898-2003, kicks off on April 24 and ends on July 25.

The first exhibition ever devoted to this subject in the United States, the Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya will demonstrate the visual magnificence of ancient Mayan art with over 130 masterworks. The exhibition will present stone sculptures, ceramics, masks, and other precious works commissioned by ancient Mayan kings and queens. Using examples from the ancient Mayan cities of Palenque, Toniná, Yaxchilán, and Bonampak, among others, the Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya will examine political and religious power in the royal court, which served as the central force in the life of each city.

NEW ROUTES/FLIGHTS

Continental Airlines (www.continental.com) has recently begun nonstop daily service from Houston to Monclova, and will also launch nonstop daily service from Houston to Puebla on May 2, and to Oaxaca and Toluca on June 10, pending government approval. The new services to Monclova and Toluca will benefit travelers who visit Mexico for business due to the increasing number of corporations and factories in these cities, while Puebla and Oaxaca are famous destinations for cultural tourism.

Funjet Vacations (www.funjet.com) has also announced it will now offer year-round nonstop service twice a week between Austin and Cancun. Previously Funjet offered seasonal service.

United Airlines (www.united.com) has just announced plans to launch a new Saturday only nonstop service to Cancun beginning June 5, pending government approval. The new flight will depart from UA’s hub at the Denver International Airport (DEN) at 10:15am and arrive at the Cancun International Airport (CUN) at 3:06pm. The return flight will be depart Cancun at 12:45pm and will arrive in Denver at 3:44pm. The new international flight will make it easier for travelers along the central region of the U.S. to visit one of the most popular destinations in Mexico and the world.

HOTEL NEWS

Hilton Hotel in Guadalajara Awarded Customer Satisfaction Award At a recent gathering in Chicago organized by the Hilton Hotels Corporation, the Hilton Hotel Guadalajara was recognized out of 230 establishments from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, in the Customer Satisfaction Category, having received the highest satisfaction rate in 2003. “This award commits us to work even harder in the years to come and holding ourselves accountable,” said hotel manager Julio Sanchez Mejorada.www.hilton.com.

CALENDAR OF TRAVEL INDUSTRY EVENTS IN MEXICO

APR 18-21: Mexico Tourism Tianguis Mexico 2004 (Tianguis Turístico México 2004) – Acapulco, Guerrero. The Tianguis Turístico is the most important tourism trade show in Mexico, with nearly 10,000 representatives from the tourism industry selling their products and services to international tourism industry representatives. All industry segments and Mexican destinations attend this important event. www.tianguisturistico.com.mx

EVENTS RELATED TO MEXICO IN THE U.S. AND CANADA

JAN 21-MAY 9: Made in Mexico Exhibit, Institute of Contemporary Art — Boston, Mass. This compelling art exhibit spotlights Mexico’s growing influence as a contemporary artistic center thanks to the contribution of 20 international artists in photography, sculpture, video and installations. www.icaboston.org

APR 4-JUL 25: Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya; Diego Rivera: Cubist Still Life and Portraits; Mexican Film Festival, National Art Gallery, Washington DC. www.nga.gov

APR 3-JUL 25: Painting a New World: Mexican Art and Life, 1521-1821, Denver Art Museum — Denver, Colorado. The largest exhibition of Mexican colonial painting ever assembled outside of Mexico, this exhibit will explore daily life through the stories of the people and places depicted. www.denverartmuseum.org

MAY 7–8: FLOWER MART 2004: A SALUTE TO MEXICO—All Hallows Guild, National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.Washington’s premier springtime family festival is celebrating Mexican culture this year with an array of music and entertainment, including Mariachi music and other Fiesta Fun. The event will run for two days and there is no admission charge. Call 202-537-3185 or visit www.cathedral.org/ahg

MAY 13: Mexican Report: Contemporary Art in Mexico, Blue Star Contemporary Art Center and Instituto de México – San Antonio, Texas. Ninety-one works by 55 young Mexican artists will be featured in the largest exhibit ever assembled of Mexican contemporary art. The exhibit will include photography, video, installations, graphics, sculpture and alternative media. www.bluestarartspace.org

The Mexico Tourism Board (MTB), also referred to as the Consejo de Promoción Turística de Mexico (CPTM), brings together the resources of federal and state governments, municipalities and private companies to promote Mexico’s tourism attractions and destinations internationally. The MTB has eight offices throughout North America — Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal, New York, Toronto, and Vancouver — as well as in Europe, Japan and Latin America. These offices are dedicated to supporting the wholesalers, travel agents, airlines and hotel chains that serve the country.

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