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Tourism Group: State Tourism Chief Must Go

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 13 May, 2011

(Acapulco, JG 13 May) The College of Tourism Professionals in Guerrero (called Coltur) has demanded that governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero discharge his current Secretary of Tourism, Graciela Báez Ricárdez. The reason: She failed to defend the Tianguis Turístico when she should have, and shows no loyalty to Acapulco and Guerrero in keeping the event here.

Ms. Báez is not from Guerrero, nor is she from the tourism industry. She was recommended to the Governor by Marcel Ebrard Casaubon, governor of the Federal District and a probable PRD presidential candidate. As is often the case, such political appointments are shunted off to the tourism sector, where it is thought that well-connected amateurs can do little harm. She had spent a couple of years as the boss of a special private-public fund for promotion of tourism to the Federal District, but her functions were more political-diplomatic than technical. Indisputably, Ms. Báez is a capable administrator and a rising star in PRD party politics, but the fact that she is a stranger to Guerrero and not a tourism professional has made her a target for those who must make their living with tourism in Acapulco. Her vacillation about supporting one side or the other in the fight between Gloria Guevara (the federal tourism secretary) and Acapulco has given the private sector ammunition to demand that she be fired. The battle over the Tianguis has become bitter and personal, and for the secretary of tourism at the state level, there are no sidelines.

The president of the College of Tourism Professionals in Guerrero, Gustavo Solís Sánchez, declared that “if Graciela Báez does not get behind the defense of the Tianguis, she should go back to the Federal District, where she came from.” He added that she has clearly been negotiating with Gloria Guevara “behind our back.” He called upon the Governor to put a tourism professional in the job. “In Acapulco and Guerrero we have people with doctoral degrees and master’s degrees in tourism development, and who know the issues very well.”

The troubles of the now embattled state tourism secretary began when she criticized Acapulco Mayor Manuel Añorve Baños for politicizing and popularizing his dispute with Gloria Guevara, with mass demonstrations, banners and other forms of public pressure. She said that he was being “erratic” and uncompromising. She recommended that he keep to the task of “cleaning up the beaches,” implying that tourism promotion was for her department and its federal equivalent, and that the mayor of Acapulco should not be involved in such things. Meanwhile, the mayor said, in a press conference in Mexico City on Wednesday, that “defending employment and economic inflow into Acapulco” is his main purpose, and the Tianguis Turístico represented 2,000 jobs and over $200 million pesos in annual inflow.