Acapulco, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Taxco—three destinations in Mexico that are the backbone to the country’s new Sun Triangle initiative. The driving force of the campaign is to increase international tourism by reintroducing these three Mexican destinations to travelers in the U.S. and Canada as each undergo substantial capital infrastructure and investment developments.
Acapulco’s main tourist zone in downtown is currently experiencing a $200 million renovation and infrastructure project and plans are in the works to create a new destination-wide transportation system known as ACABus, which will provide service to and from two of the city’s popular tourism zones; and while Sunwing Airlines launches two new flights to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo from Toronto and Montreal, the colonial city of Taxco will shine at night under the lights of special illumination planned for the town’s plazas, streets, alleyways and temples.
Associate editor Deserae del Campo talked with Javier Aluni, secretary of tourism for the State of Guerrero, about the Sun Triangle campaign and what you, travel agents, should know about these three unique destinations in Mexico.
Deserae del Campo (DC): What makes these three destinations in Mexico so unique and why were they chosen as the three Sun Triangle destinations?
Javier Aluni (JA): Each unique in its own way, all three of the Sun Triangle destinations are without a doubt a must-visit for travelers looking to immerse themselves in true Mexican culture. From the vibrant beaches in Acapulco to the relaxing atmosphere of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and the rich history in Taxco—the ‘Silver’ city—each destination offers its own distinct appeal. These three cities were selected as the Sun Triangle destinations as they make up a geographical triangle with Acapulco located between, and to the south of, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Taxco.
DC: The investment plans for Acapulco include a tunnel to connect the Navy Base-Playa Icacos to the Diamond Zone. Can you explain what the Diamond Zone is?
JA: The Diamond Zone is one of three tourism zones, or neighborhoods, in Acapulco. This area of Acapulco attracts wealthy travelers from around the world in addition to Mexico City’s most successful residents. The Diamond Zone includes two of the destination’s most upscale properties—Banyan Tree Cabo Marques and the recently renovated Hotel Encanto—and provides spectacular views overlooking the bay and away from Acapulco’s hustle and bustle.
This area of Acapulco has seen constant development over the past few years as it is home to a number of luxury investments including Mundo Imperial, a destination all its own offering a variety of high-end boutiques, restaurants, nightclubs and convention centers, and La Isla Shopping Village, among others. It is also the home of the iconic Fairmont Acapulco Princess and Fairmont Pierre Marques properties. The Diamond (or Diamante) Zone also features some of Acapulco’s most beautiful, natural tourism attractions such as Revolcadero Beach, Barra Vieja and Tres Palos Lagoon.
DC: Of all the investment projects launched or planned for the near future, which do you think is the most significant for this campaign?
JA: The most significant would have to be the multi-million-dollar renovation and revitalization of Acapulco’s Traditional Zone, the most celebrated and iconic neighborhood in the destination. This project is currently underway and is very significant to the Sun Triangle campaign. As part of this renovation project, a new state-of-the-art, destination-wide transportation system known as ACABus will be introduced in 2014, providing a new and modern local transportation service through the Traditional and Golden tourism zones and into the local neighborhoods. Also important to note is the construction of the macrotunnel, which will reduce traffic between the Golden and Diamond zones and provide an alternate route to the airport.
DC: What is the one takeaway a travel agent should know about this new initiative?
JA: Travel agents should know that all of the Sun Triangle destinations are located within driving distance from one another and offer unique vacation experiences. Additionally, as the name suggests, the Sun Triangle provides a ‘sun’ guarantee, promising travelers 360 days of sunshine while combining the incredible nature, culinary delights, history, traditions and white sand beaches of Guerrero.
DC: Is the city of Taxco best for a day trip or extended stay?
JA: Located approximately four hours from Acapulco and 2.5 hours from Mexico City, Taxco is an ideal location for an overnight or weekend stay. This small but charming city is known for its abundance in silver and is one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations, not only for its silver but its rich historical background and culture. Taxco is considered one of Mexico’s ‘magic towns’ and offers visitors access to other natural wonders in Guerrero such as Cacahumilpa caves, Santa Prisca and much more.
DC: The initiative was created to increase international tourism. From current tourism documents I have seen, 20 percent of travelers to Acapulco come from the U.S. and Canada, while 80 percent is local. Would you like to see that number switched?
JA: Yes, it is our goal that the Sun Triangle initiative will help spread the word about our three outstanding tourist destinations and attract more visitors from both the U.S. and Canada.
It’s important to note that Acapulco was Mexico’s original beach destination and the top vacation getaway amongst 1950s and 1960s movie stars including Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and John Wayne. We want travelers to remember why they fell in love with Acapulco and rediscover all of the amazing experiences that are available here. We also hope that while vacationing in Acapulco, travelers will also be open to explore other destinations in Guerrero, which is why the Sun Triangle initiative was developed.