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Tour Guides Threatened with Extinction in Acapulco

By: Staff | Real Acapulco News - 15 November, 2010

(Acapulco, ESr 15 November) Federally-licensed tourist guides, who specialize in meeting foreign visitors arriving by air or cruise ship and guiding them around the port, are at the point of extinction. This is according to members of a group of guides interviewed in the offices of the Acapulco newspaper El Sur. The reasons given include the 30 per cent drop in cruise ship arrivals since last year, the drop in flights arriving in Acapulco due to the bankruptcy of Mexicana, and unfair competition from pirate guides. Last season (2009-10) Acapulco had 146 cruise ship arrivals; this year (2010-11) the number is just 90 to 95. The Carnival Spirit, for example, arrived in Acapulco 24 times last season. This season it will be just 9 times. The Norwegian Star dropped from 30 to 8 in the same interval. Arrivals by air have also dropped off. Currently only 6 international flights arrive per week, and this number may double for the high season, but it is still far short of the number required.

The guides pointed to the fact that Acapulco has 254 hotels of one or more stars, totaling 26,800 hotel rooms, plus 135,000 condos and timeshares. Twelve arrivals per week is scarcely enough to fill a small fraction of that capacity. They also pointed to the unfair competition from private homes in Las Brisas and other luxury neighborhoods. “These people arrive by their own means, buy things at the supermarkets, and leave without using the local transport and restaurants, and without supporting the tourist infrastructure one bit,” they complained.
The guides pointed to “pirate” (unlicensed and unregulated) tour guides, using their private vehicles for transport. They offer the same services as we do, but do not pay fees and taxes, and do not offer tourists any security against being exploited. The federally-licensed guides have not raised their fees in eight years, largely because of the unfair competition. Meanwhile, the prices for gasoline, parts and tires have all gone up.

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