The meetings and conventions industry in Mexico continues booming as proven by the many events that have taken place this year, including such high-level and significant meetings as the G20 Summit of the finance ministers representing the world’s 20 largest economies, the B20 Summit of business… leaders from the G20 countries, the T20 Summit of the tourism ministers from the G20 countries, and the G20 Trade and Investment Promotion Summit, among many others.
“The main advantages of Mexico as an international meetings and conventions destination are clearly the convenient location to most US cities; the affordability of both air and land especially with the increase in the number of all-inclusive options; the diversity of destinations from cultural to resort to urban; and the superb service culture that exists across the country,” said David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Travel Company, a global leader firm in the meetings, events, and incentive travel programs.
When speaking about its company’s plans in Mexico in the next years, Peckinpaugh added, “We continue to see a steady increase year over year of our business into Mexico. We are working closely with the Mexico Tourism Board to expand the education of our buyers and planners, to increase their knowledge on what is new in the destinations and to build the awareness around safety that is paramount with our corporate and association clients.”
Most recently, in November 2012, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) of North America held its 5th Annual Advisory Summit in Mazatlan, Mexico. Participants shared with MexicoToday their experience while in Mazatlan through a series of video testimonials, including:
• Gary Schirmacher, senior vice president at Experient
• Leigh Wintz, principal consultant at Tecker International
• Michael Payne, executive vice president at SmithBucklin Corporation
• James Rooney, executive director at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
• James Wood, CEO at the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau
And the number of international meetings and conventions to be held in different locations in Mexico in 2013 throughout 2018 is already lining up, including:
• In 2013: 17th Congress of the International Society of Development Biologists – ISDB (Cancun); 64th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Electrochemistry – ISE (Santiago de Queretaro); and the 24th International Society for Neurochemistry Meeting (Cancun).
• In 2014: XIII International Congress of Parasitology – ICOPA (Mexico City); 11th World Congress on Nuclear Medicine and Biology (Cancun); 13th Pan American Congress of Dairy (Chihuahua); and the 19th World Congress on Information Technology – WCIT (Guadalajara).
• In 2016: International Congress of Ophthalmology (Guadalajara); and, the 21st World Congress of Echocardiography and Allied Techniques (Mexico City)
• In 2018: Congress of the International Society for Intellectual Property (Cancun); and the 17th International Conference on Emergency Medicine (Mexico City).
Meetings in Mexico contributed 1.43 percent to the country’s GDP in 2010 and account for 18 percent of total travel and tourism demand generating 18 billion dollars in revenue. Mexico also boasts sophisticated meetings infrastructure. With over 57 major convention and exposition centers across the country and half a million hotel rooms in more than 3,000 luxury hotels, Mexico is equipped to hold meetings of international caliber. Due to major infrastructural development and strong governmental support, Mexico saw a 25 percent increase in world congresses from 2010 to 2011, positioning the country as 20th in the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) rankings for 2011.
“If you haven’t experienced Mexico lately then you are missing out on providing truly exceptional experiences for your meeting and incentive guests,” added Peckinpaugh.
Central Mexico has copious amounts of sun and tortillas, so perhaps it isn’t so surprising that someone came up with the idea of using solar power to make them. In the town of El Sauz, north of Mexico City, German businessman Gregor Schapers has created and installed giant circular solar-powered ovens to… make tortillas in a carbon-free manner.
Schapers, who has lived in the town of El Sauz, 180 kilometers (110 miles) north of Mexico City since 2003, hopes that this environmentally-friendly solar cooker can ultimately slash energy bills in Mexico's poor rural communities.
Conventional ovens typically use gas, up to 16 gallons a month. Some might expect a solar oven to be rather anemic in the temperature ranges. However, Schapers solar cookers can reach beyond 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit.
He adapted solar energy-harnessing technology created by the Austrian Wolfgang Scheffler. Scheffler reflectors are used to heat up a griddle, oven, and cauldron. They are made in El Sauz by TrinySol and can last up to thirty years.
Inhabitat reports that one solar cooker costs about $4,000-$5,000, yet the oven more than pays for itself in a relatively short period of time. This is because, once up and running, the solar cooker has no need for anything but sunlight, and helps Gregor Schapers save the money he would otherwise be forced to spend on gas.
These ovens also help promote green-oriented behaviors amongst the people presently living in the town of El Sauz.
"You can cook for a group of up to 60 people per reflector. It's good for social and economic development in rural communities," George Schaper said with respect to his cooker and the business of building it.
The solar panels used to make these ovens are fitted with light sensors, which mean that they automatically turn towards the sun.
In addition to heat, the solar reflectors can produce steam and Schapers is testing three other uses for his giant panels: a greenhouse project; honey production; and a system for steam baths.
Mexico participated in the Eighteenth Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention of the United Nations on Climate Change (COP 18), which recently took place in Doha, Qatar. Francisco Barnés Regueiro, General Director of National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC), led the Mexican delegation. …
“For Mexico it is important for the agreement to be legally binding and secure the participation of all States according to their capabilities and responsibilities, focusing not only on mitigation, but in all those aspects that require further development, such as financial" said Barnés Regueiro.
Since hosting COP16 in Cancun, Mexico has worked tirelessly to support the efforts of the international community on climate change, including the establishment of an Interministerial Commission on Climate Change, strengthening local capacities for attention of the phenomenon, and the entry into force of the Act on Climate Change.
Additionally, Mexico has promoted the implementation of the agreements reached at the last conference of the parties, particularly the Durban package that builds on the Cancun Agreements, and promoted to reflect the urgency of immediate action on climate change.
Mexican officials stressed the necessity to find a model of growth with lower carbon emissions, with an efficient use of our natural resources and conserving biodiversity.
For the 24-year-old, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, the 2012 season has been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride. The striker known as “Little Pea” seemed to be having trouble matching his performance from the previous season. This slow start forced Head Coach, Sir Alex Ferguson, to relinquish Chicharito’s… starting position. However, Mexico’s most famous footballer now has seven goals in his last five appearances for Man U, forcing Ferguson to admit he has earned the right to start.
After three years without a break, playing internationals during the close season, Hernandez looks refreshed and revitalized following his break last summer and is back to the form he showed in his debut season. Currently at 16 goals as a sub for Manchester United, Chicharito is closing in on Ole Gunnar Solakajer's record (28) and it’s only a matter of time before he is standing alongside the Norwegian as United's greatest impact player.
"Chicharito is getting back to what he was a couple of years ago and a summer's rest has helped him enormously," said Ferguson.
"He's looking fresh and aggressive with his running, he's always a handful and the way he's started this season I'm certain he'll get to 20-plus goals."
Because of his impressive play in Novemeber, Hernandez captured his second successive ManUtd.com Player of the Month award. Brazilians Rafael da Silva and Anderson grabbed second and third place respectively – but Hernandez’s dominant 67% of the vote was enough to secure his sixth monthly triumph.
The director of Hidden Moon, Pepe Bojorquez, is excited for the world to see his newest work. The international film premiered November 21 in Mexico, and is to be released worldwide.
“This film is about so many things. The story is easy to empathize,” Pepe said. “I really wanted to portray the Mexico that I knew, that I grew up with, through poetry, love, music.”
The story captures the true beauty and complications of life, and intertwines the intricate feelings of love with the deep nature of truth.
The story is partially his, but he said it is really everyone’s. Pepe chased his dreams of becoming a filmmaker, and the story is about a woman who will stop at nothing for her dreams.
“Sometimes our goals and what we want to accomplish mask everything though,” Pepe said. “Such as love! It can be right in front of us.”
Ever since he was very young, Pepe always knew he wanted to make movies. His father gave him a camera when he was seven. He began his career by studying business first, then marketing, and then finally applied to the University of Southern California film school to learn the art.
“Growing up in Mexico 20 years ago was tough, because there were only a couple careers to follow,” Pepe said. “If I wanted to be a filmmaker, that was hard. But now, whatever you want to be, people respect.”
To children in Mexico, Pepe offers some advice. “Keep going, fight for your dreams, no matter what you want to do!” Pepe said. “I have to fight every single day.”
Following the popularity of the world’s only Mexican beaded Volkswagen, namely “Vochol”, the Museum of Popular Arts’ Friends Association (Asociación de Amigos del Museo de Arte Popular - AAMAP) has made available miniature replicas which can be purchased at their… stores in Mexico City. The miniature replicas, also known as “Vocholitos”, are a wonderful way to promote and recognize the unique artistic expressions of the Mexican Huichol popular tradition. Even the role of the women is represented through the Vochol – and the Vocholito.
MexicoToday is raffling 4 Vocholitos – two in Germany and two in France – via its Facebook pages, so make sure to participate for a chance to win one of them if you are based in any of those two countries!
The “Vochol” has been touring around North America and Europe for people abroad to enjoy such a magnificent piece of art. Following its exhibition at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC in March and the Denver International Airport in June, the “Vochol” visited the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris in October, when it head to the Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany where it will be exhibited until the first week of January in 2013.
In an exclusive interview with MexicoToday, the then president of the Marie Therese de Arango AAMAP invited people from around the world to admire and visit one of the Vochol upcoming exhibitions. The Vochol is up for sale, and as de Arango said on the video, “We hopefully want to sell it. We would like to find a very interested collector or museum that will want to buy it.”
Watch this video where one of the Huichol bead artists that made the Vochol explains how much he appreciates its art and culture, and invites people to see the Vochol.
As Mexico Today first reported in May, the world famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders spent a week at the Iberostar Paraíso Maya on the Riviera Maya for their 2013 calendar photo shoot. The 2013 calendar marks the third consecutive year that the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have chosen Mexico's beaches for the production of their promotional calendar.
During the episode, the cheerleaders had warm things to say about Mexico, “We look for a lot of things in our locations. First and foremost: great sand, great color of water, sunrises and sunsets.”
“Iberostar Hotels & Resorts is proud to have a strong partnership with Riviera Maya and one of the most celebrated football teams in the nation, the Dallas Cowboys,” said John Long, Iberostar’s vice president of sales and marketing, in a written release.
Click here to watch the full episode of Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team.
In popular culture, many inaccurately associate December 21, 2012 with a Mayan prophecy about the end of the world. This is false. According to the Mayan Calendar, the world will NOT end on December 21, 2012, but rather a new cycle in life will begin. The Mayas never mentioned the world nor time would end. In fact, Mayan texts refer to dates after… 2012. The Temple of Inscriptions in Palenque refers to dates in the year 4772, two thousand years from now.
The interest in Mayan culture and Mayan cosmology has prompted renewed interest in visiting Mayan sites in Mexico. The Mexico Tourism Board launched an initiative called Mundo Maya to promote tourist interest in the states of Yucatan, Chiapas, Campeche, Tabasco and Quintana Roo, key locations of the Mayan civilization.
Mundo Maya promoted such sites as the ruins of Calakmul in the state of Campeche, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. In Yucatán, the observatories of Chichén Itzá tracked the heavens. Explore the Tomb of the Red Queen in Chiapas, and learn how the indigenous jatropha plant is being refined into biofuel. And beyond the beaches of Quintana Roo, the modern-day Maya are pioneering new eco-tourism ventures to protect their natural resources. And in the state of Tabasco, chocolate was first invented as a Mayan religious beverage.
Many of the challenges facing today’s global community – such as climate change, biodiversity and food insecurity – were faced by the Maya more than a thousand years ago. Learning the lessons of the Mayan civilization can help the modern world escape a similar fate.
Sergio “Checo” Perez recently concluded his second season in Formula 1, for which he was named one of the top ten drivers of the 2012 campaign. The end of the season marks a significant transition for the 22-year-old driver. After two years with Sauber, Checo will now take his talents to the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes… racing team, signing a multi-year deal to race alongside 2009 world champion Jenson Button. Said Perez, “I'm under no illusion that it is indeed a very big step – as it would be for any driver – but I'm ready for it.”
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Martin Whitmarsh noted that Perez’s performance this season brought him a lot of favorable attention. “It was a string of giant-killing performances, a trio of podiums and a brilliant fastest lap in this year’s Monaco Grand Prix that showed us that Sergio lacks nothing in terms of speed and commitment, said Whitmarsh. “We've been monitoring his progress carefully for some months - and, now that he's become part of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, our task will be to refine and develop his abilities as his career progresses over the coming years.”
Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn thanked Checo for his time at Sauber “Our thanks also go to Sergio Pérez, who has claimed three podiums for the team so far and now has the opportunity at McLaren-Mercedes to display his immense talent with one of the most successful teams in Formula One history. We would also like to wish Sergio all the best and every success for the future.”
Watch this video where Checo thanks his fans at the conclusion of a successful season.
Rich in culture, history and attractions, Veracruz was an obvious filming choice for Hidden Moon.
Veracruz is Mexico’s oldest, largest and historically most significant port since European colonization. It has always acted as a main gate for Mexico, accepting many sea travelers and products since the 16th century. Hernan Cortes first landed in Mexico only 20 km northwest from Veracruz. Because Veracruz is the oldest standing city settled by Europeans, it is overflowing with historical sites. Visitors tour the San Juan de Ulua Castle, the last fortress of the Spanish Empire that was later used as a prison during Porfirio Diaz’s government.
Veracruz is home to a blend of cultures from the indigenous Mexican, Spanish and Afro-Cuban. The mixture is showcased in the city’s food and music, which carries strong Spanish, Caribbean and African influences. The traditional vericruzana music is called “Son Jarocho,” which is the perfect example of the city’s blended cultures.
The downtown harbor plazas are teeming with life. The city rarely sleeps, with most of the locals listening to music in the squares late into the night, only to wake up in the early morning to sip coffee at sidewalk cafes. Music and dancing bring light to the city once the sun goes down, and the bustle of everyday activity springs back to life in the morning. Coffeehouses are a social center, the most famous being the Gran Café del Portal and the Café de la Parroquia.
Every year since 1866, the Veracruz Carnaval is celebrated. Veracruz’s Carnaval is the largest in Mexico. It is based in the historic center of the city, and focuses on the Carnaval Parade of Veracruz. The event begins with the “Burning of Bad Humor” and ends with the “Burial of Juan Carnaval.”
http://mexicotoday.org The 11th edition of the International Balloon Festival was held in Leon, Guanajuato. With approximately 200 hot air balloons from 14 countries, this spectacular event was a must-see. Considered to be Latin America's largest event of its kind, over 350,000 visitors from the Americas and Europe… came out to see the extraordinary hot air balloons.
On November 7-9, meetings industry and incentives leaders gathered in Mexico to share their latest industry insights and offerings at Icomex 2012. At the World Trade Center Mexico City, hundreds of executives from different countries of the Americas – and MexicoToday spotted also some attendees from Italy among many other Europeans… – enjoyed the three-day event. Click here to watch our exclusive video and click here to watch photos on our MexicoToday Flickr album.
Named the leading trade show in Latin America for meeting and incentive planners, Icomex organizers scheduled more than 600 meetings in advance among exhibitors and attendees. Adalberto Rodriguez Fallas from the Costa Rica Tourism Board stated, “We are here with a group of fine entrepreneurs that are here to offer products, and to see what we can offer to the world.” He also added, “Here is where we are going to show what Costa Rica has to offer in the segment of conventions and incentives as well.”
Icomex’s 2012 guest country was Costa Rica which showcased an impressive stand on the exhibition floor. Other countries and cities that participated at this year’s Icomex include: Argentina, Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Peru, Las Vegas, and several other Mexican states, including Chiapas, Mazatlan, among many others.
Sergio “Checo” Perez finished in 11th place at the inaugural United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. However, he was clearly number one in the hearts of the many fans who turned out to cheer him on.
The automotive blog Jalopnik summed it up this way: “You hear a lot of Mexican fans talking about Perez the way that Brazilians used to talk about Ayrton Senna. Mexico has been going through some rough times economically and socially over the last decade, but a lot of Mexicans are tired of their country only being in the news for cartel-related violence. The Mexican tourism industry has fought hard against that image.”
Among the fans who travelled to watch Checo compete was Miguel Candia, a 52-year-old engineer from Guadalajara, Jalisco. When asked by the Austin American-Statesman if Checo gave Mexico hope, Candida said “Of course. But so do the Mexicans who won the mathematics Olympics, the champions of the robotics competition and the winners of many cultural competitions out there. There are many brilliant Mexicans who make us proud, but today Checo is our ambassador.”
This year, the 11th edition of the International Balloon Festival was held on November 16-19 in Leon, Guanajuato. With approximately 200 hot air balloons from 14 countries, this spectacular event was a must-see. Click here to check out our MexicoToday Flickr photo albumConsidered to be Latin America’s largest event of its kind, over 350,000 visitors from the Americas… and Europe came out to see the extraordinary hot air balloons. From colorful, standard shaped balloons with their sponsors name on it to balloons in the shapes of cartoon characters including Mickey Mouse, Pepé Le Pew, and many others, this year’s festival offered something for everyone.
The festivities began at 7am everyday with the inflating of the balloons. As everyone gathered around them, trying to guess what they would turn into as they inflated, the guests were eager to see the take-off. Following the exhibition of the colorful, fun-shaped balloons, everyone was ready to eat, watch the concerts, shop, and enjoy the rest of their day.
At around 7pm, it was time for the much anticipated part of the day, Magical Nights (or in Spanish “Noches Magicas”). Considered to be one of the main highlights of the festival, Magical Nights offered a unique orchestration between the balloons being lit and fire shooters with great music. The festival ended officially at the stroke of midnight every night, allowing everyone to go home with a smile on their face, having witnessed such a unique and special event.
Following the dialogue between business and policy makers, the G20 Trade and Investment Promotion Summit 2012 concluded a successful two-day event on November 6 with a promising agenda and determined next steps.
Under an environment of close cooperation and discussion between agencies, the following five strategic challenges were identified:
1. Strong emphasis on policy coherence and sustainable development are more than ever needed due to: a) the emergence of the new global economic landscape characterized by the relevant link between trade and investment, b) the rapid evolution of global value chains in scope, scale and depth, and; c) the shift of trade and investment promotion paradigm.
2. Existing constrains of public funding for trade and investment promotion, and strong desire for working on customized trade promotion optimization (TPO) and investment promotion agency (IPA) country solutions while fostering international peer cooperation and learning.
3. Need for local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access and benefit from global value chains (GVCs).
4. Include private business in the economic development strategy-making process.
5. Missing fast-moving networks for best practice exchange integrating trade and investment.
At the inauguration ceremony and plenary session, executives from the organizing committee provided an overview and positioning of the Summit, including the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)’s executive director of policy and business practices Stefano Bertasi and welcoming remarks by ProMexico’s CEO Carlos Guzman Bonfill. The World Trade Organization (WTO)’s chief of staff Arancha Gonzalez Laya spoke about the changing landscape of trade, where she highlighted the need to focus on global value chains to further trade and investment around the world, and later on the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s director for investment and enterprise division James Zhan discussed the key trends and strategic challenges global investment is facing nowadays.
Following a series of closed-door roundtables, key representatives offered a wrap up press conference where they presented the key strategic challenges listed above as conclusions for the summit. Key representatives speaking to members of the press included ProMexico’s CEO Carlos Guzman Bonfill, UNCTAD’s James Zhan, and OCDE’s chief of staff and sherpa to the G20 Gabriela Ramos.
Alejandro Ramirez, CEO of Cinepolis and B20 chair, also attended the event, where he provided closing remarks and conclusions on a closed door session. In an exclusive interview with MexicoToday, Ramirez stated, “The G20 Trade and Investment Promotion Summit was one of the recommendations we presented at the B20 Summit in Los Cabos which recommended all trade and investment promotion agencies to get together to share best practices and analyze ways how business and government can work closer to advance free trade and investment, and put pressure on G20 countries at a time of growing protectionist threats.” Ramirez also added, “This event allowed trade and investment promotion agencies to understand the importance of global value chains, and to analyze ways they can help, especially to small and medium enterprises, in having access to those global value chains which will make them more competitive, resulting on their countries to become more competitive.”