Añorve Asks Private Sector to Back Báez
(Acapulco, ElSur 19 August) Acapulco’s private tourism sector has been highly critical of State Tourism Promotion Secretary Graciela Báez Ricardez, particularly for her somewhat Pollyanna statements about how the image of violence has not hurt Acapulco’s tourism, and for the apparent lack of concrete measures to counteract the negative press with positive stories and promotions for the port city. Mayor Manuel Añorve Baños, in a press statement, said that the business sector had reason to be worried about the situation, but requested that they be patient and give Graciela Báez a “vote of confidence.”
Soon a documentary filmed last January will be aired on national television in which President Calderón says that the violence associated with narcotics trafficking has not affected tourism. With respect to this controversial (and evidently preposterous) statement, Añorve said, “I am 100% in agreement with him.” He keep citing hotel occupation statistics as support for the argument.
The evident “official” line for politicians and bureaucrats is to deny the problem and say that any problem can be overcome by a public relations effort. Meanwhile, the private sector decries the denial of the problem from the political sector, and points to inaction or at least ineffective action on the part of the government. The only promotional and public relations effort for Acapulco this year that has seemed to have local impact is the “Speak Well of Aca” campaign, which was a private sector initiative.
The private sector also points out that hotel occupancy is down, that whatever there is has been caused by deep discounting, and that visitors do not spend money in bars, in restaurants or in transport, but rather stick to the beaches with food and drink purchased at grocery stores. No matter what the hotel occupancy, the attendance at restaurants and night clubs after 9:00 has all but vanished.
The mayor promised, without any details, “a grand promotional effort” in support of tourism in Acapulco for these months of September through October, which would be a joint effort of the municipality and the State of Guerrero. After a couple of long, patriotic holiday weekends in September, the calendar is usually open and traffic slack until late November. These are the “hungry” months.