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Acapulco: Ready for 2014

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Some $200 million is being invested to renovate the infrastructure of the main tourist areas of Acapulco, according to Octavio Gonzalez, general director of the port authority. The improvements range from walkways to streetlights and public transportation.

He said that paving will improve road surfaces for shore excursion coaches and that certain downtown streets will be dedicated to pedestrians and closed for traffic. Most of the improvements are taking place in areas adjacent to the cruise port.

“By 2014, I think the first phase of the improvements projects will be completed in areas close to the port, allowing better mobility for tourists,” Gonzalez said. “With new street lighting, road surfaces and trees – the area will look brand new.”

He explained that most of the upgrades are targeted at the downtown area which had previously largely been ignored. The Slim Foundation is involved, according to Gonzalez, which has a program, renovating historic buildings in Mexican cities.

A new tunnel will connect the Bay area to the Diamond district.

“We have name recognition,” Gonzalez continued. “People want to come here. Normally, our cruise traffic is linked to Panama Canal cruises, but we also hosted the homeporting of Pullmantur, running cruises for Mexican passengers from Acapulco.

“Pullmantur was very successful here,” he said. “We are hoping that another cruise line will continue. Ocean Pacific tried, but had technical issues with their ship. There is definitely a market.”

In other areas, Acapulco is working with the airlines to bring the traffic back up to previous levels.

“We are working for the future,” Gonzalez said. “And for cruise ships, itineraries do not change overnight. Meanwhile, we are being proactive, telling the industry about our improvements and how they will benefit our guests.

“With the construction, it is probably good right now that we do not have too many ships. By fall 2014, however, we will be ready.

Future projects include a so-called center for biodiversity, a recreation area for the Caleta and Caletilla beach areas with entertainment, food markets and shopping. The Mundo Imperial complex is expanding with an 800-suite resort, spa and concert hall.

A Mexican soap opera is being filmed in Acapulco – “Gossip Girl of Acapulco” – scheduled to air next year.

Acapulco welcomes nine million visitors a year of which 80 percent are domestic tourists and the balance international tourists mostly from the U.S. and Canada.

Because of recent safety alternatives, the crime rate in Acapulco is reported to have decreased by 50 percent over the past six months.

A quality service program has also been launched specifically geared toward tourism.

In addition, many of Acapulco’s high-profile hotels have invested in renovations with modern updates and amenities offered.

Among the many highlights for cruise passengers is tour to Taxco, less than a three-hour drive from the port, known as Mexico’s “silver capitol.”