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Summer Season “Bad to Terrible” – Private Sector

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 16 August, 2011

(Acapulco, NA 15 August) Interviewed by Novedades Acapulco, restaurant owners, hotel operators and nightclub execs all stated that this summer vacation period (all of July and half of August) has been a disappointment. They called it “bad to terrible.”

Antonio Casarreal Hernández, a partner in the Unión Restaurant, opined that both the national and international tourism markets had been very low, especially on weekdays. He said that each year the amount of tourism has fallen, and that the statements made by mayor Manuel Añorve Baños (to the effect that it had been a good vacation period) are wrong. In the end, there was little tourism, and it has not been a good vacation period. Likewise, Oscar Bustos, who heads the local restaurant and bar association, said that the nightclubs had no high season at all, in spite of the private sector’s attempts to work with the tourism authorities. To this point, they have seen none of the promised results. He complained that the government people have not promoted the port as a tourist destination, adding, “He who says that Acapulco had a good high season is saying so because he doesn’t live in Acapulco.” Salomé Gutiérrez, who works with an aquatic services cooperative, added that this has been the worst high season in many years. “It’s been terrible,” he said. He elaborated that the port has been hit by “insecurity,” even though the drop in tourism is not so much a result of the violence as from a lack of promotion to counteract the negative image that the violence has caused.

The representatives of owners and workers at hotels and restaurants re-emphasized that, in spite of the fact that the municipal authorities are saying that the summer season has been very good, the hoped for boost in tourism in July and August did not occur. Weekends were better than weekdays, when occupancy was 50% or less. According to union leaders, this is reflected in the hiring halls (for temporary hotel workers), where many persons waited for a job, but never got a chance. “In the first weeks of the high season, yes, they all found jobs, but from the third week on, no,” said one CTM (union) official. “On weekends occupancy would go to 70 or 80% but would drop to 50% Monday-Thursday. It never reached 90% as hoped for.”

This sentiment was echoed by restaurateurs in Caleta, who averred that this was the worst summer season in over ten years. They attributed the drop to the swarms of ambulatory beach vendors, who chase customers away, to insecurity, to the economic crisis and to the lack of promotion of Acapulco in its main origin markets. Some places are so empty they seem abandoned. “The first two weeks were so-so,” said one Caleta restaurant owner, “but there has been next to nothing these last weeks. May was a better month than August. Moreover, we are crawling with beach vendors, and our sales drop; but it is we, not the beach vendors, who pay taxes.”