Tourism Numbers Keep On Growing
In the final tourism tally for the first 10 months of 2007, we learn that 17.5 million tourists came to Mexico in the first 10 months of the year. This is an increase of 7.3% overall. With each spending an average of $755 USD, the outlook for the economic and social development looks bright throughout the nation. The cruise industry seems to be gaining ground fast, with a rise in numbers of passengers of over 10% in the first 10 months of 2007. This means that over 5.5 million people visited our shores on cruise ships. As we go about our daily lives in Yucatan, shopping for groceries, puttering in our gardens, and attending our events, it is amazing to know that 17.5 million tourists want to see our adopted home.
Intercontinental Travel: Milan & Merida
Yucatan Living has already reported on the regular flights between Madrid, Spain, and Cancun, and the fact that they are bringing tourists overland from those flights to Merida. Now, we have direct flights from Milan, Italy, right into Merida itself. That’s right, every Thursday, 227 passengers from Milan arrive at Merida International Airport. We cannot resist the temptation to comment on the fact that “of course!” there would be international flights between Merida and Milan. There are many similarities between the classical cultures of the two cities and we are so pleased to have them here. It is not lost on us that these flights offer us access to some of the greatest cities in Europe and there is no doubt that both expats and Yucatecos will be visiting Europe in the coming year.
Is This Expansion When There’s Nowhere Left to Expand?
While we are on the subject of European tourists landing in Cancun and being brought overland to Merida, let’s take a look at another outsourcing of tourists project coming from Cancun. Did you know that, beginning in January or February, there is going to be a new low-cost airline between Cancun and Campeche? The goal is to bring tourists from Cancun to the Campeche Playa, Golf, Marina and Spa Resort. Everyone admits that there is only so much space along the beach in Quintana Roo and that further expansion there must be done carefully, and without damage to the ecology of the area. Yet, the wonders of Yucatan are now on the travel agenda of people around the world – and they are coming to visit in greater numbers than we ever imagined. This transporting of tourists to other locations on the Yucatan Peninsula is an interesting turn of events that holds particular tourism promise for both Yucatan and for Campeche.
Cuba to be Guest Nation at Festival of the City
If you think that the beginning of Carnival Season is busy enough with just those activities, then you have not been to Merida, Yucatan. Shortly after the first of every year, there is a Festival of the City – a sort of birthday/anniversary party that lasts for weeks. To celebrate this year, the 466th birthday of the City of Merida, Cuba will be the Guest Nation. After the first of the year, keep a close eye on Yucatan Living ‘s Events to see dates and times for upcoming showings of the works of major Cuban artists, as well as yet another fabulous Cuban ballet. From what we understand, all events will be free except the ballet. The only downside to all of this is that there aren’t enough days in the week (or month), so we end up with two or more “must see” performances on the same nights – ah… decisions decisions! – all part of life in the State of Yucatan.
First Time Ever: Mexican Christmas in Rome
Margarita Zavala Gómez del Campo, wife of President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, has been received by Pope Benedict XVI. A Christmas tree, donated by Mexico, is now displayed in the area devoted to Pope Paul VI. The President’s wife also brought crafts from all over Mexico, along with a silver triptico with the figure of the Virgin of Guadalupe on the center panel and an image of the Mexican eagle with the motto “ México siempre fiel ” (Always Faithful Mexico). This is the first time that a Latin American nation has had a direct presence in the Christmas festivities of the Holy See. To mark the event, Pope Benedict XVI issued a special blessing and affectionate greeting, in Spanish, to a crowd of approximately1,000 Mexican citizens gathered in Saint Peter’s Square (La Plaza de San Pedro).
Biodiversity in Yucatan
Did you know that the State of Yucatan is the first state, after Michoacán, to have a complete study of the biodiversity within its boundaries. This comes with the final presentation of a study that has taken some 200 scientists up to 30 years to produce. Not only are we extremely proud of our state and its dedication to every living thing here, but we also want to tell our readers that we have two unsung heroes behind much of the success of our environmental programs. They are Eduardo Batllori Sampedro, Secretary of Ecology, and Dr. Rafael Durán Garcia, Director of the Unit of Natural Resources under the Secretariat of Ecology.
Dr. Durán Garcia’s region of responsibility covers Campeche, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo and he has become one of Yucatan’s own Natural Resources. Congratulations to both the Secretary of Ecology and to Dr. Rafael Durán Garcia.
Tabasco and Chiapas Flooding
The disaster in Tabasco and Chiapas is not over. There are still isolated places where flooding continues, some brought about by construction efforts to avert another full-scale disaster. One hundred homes in Chiapas were flooded in this manner just last week. Just because that great flood is no longer in the headlines, we encourage you to remember the people of Tabasco and Chiapas. They still need everything they needed on the first day after the flood. They have suffered a tragedy from which it will take years to recover. They already have 50,000 people who have sought mental health help and they are now battling a rising suicide rate. To the credit of the government, they are moving as fast as possible to provide mental health services, and to put in an infrastructure that will alleviate another such disaster, but global warming looms ahead and even the government admits that there is a possibility for such disasters to happen again, both in Tabasco and Chiapas, as well as in other areas of the nation. Imagine your Christmas if this had happened to Yucatan and then continue to do whatever you can to help the people of Tabasco and Chiapas.
Send Christmas Wishes to Yucatecos in the U.S.
It is hard to be away from home during the holidays, but many of our Yucatecos are in the United States and over 600 of them have a registered account with el Diario . They are listed by state and city here. We thought you might like to send some of them a blind e-mail through that site, wish them a Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year from Yucatan – and – if you find one in the area that is or was your home, you can offer to help them in other ways, even if only with a local contact e-mail address. Many of them are young and some are alone, so please look for someone you might be able to help and wish them well in the spirit of Christmas. And while you’re at it… tell them about Yucatan Living! We have a lot of Yucateco-abroad readers who come to look at the photos, watch the videos and read the articles because it makes them feel closer to their beloved home.
Christmas Weight Gain
In 1999, a study by student doctors at UADY was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Their investigation was aimed at determining, as nearly as possible, how much weight people really gain during the Christmas holidays. What they found, the first year of the study, was that participants gained only about 1.06 pounds. But that is not the end of the story. When they followed the participants through another year, they discovered that the first year’s weight was not lost and that the participants gained 1.36 pounds the next year. Some gained as much as five pounds. Since this weight seems to be compounding throughout our lifetimes, we need to be especially careful to watch what we eat during the holidays. This year, Nutre y Mueve Tu Vida has put up a site that gives us their tips and tricks for taking the calories out of the holidays and living well to enjoy many more Christmases. If you need a translator to help you on your reading, you can use Babelfish.
A Christmas Postcard from UADY
Check out their Christmas postcard. From the Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan: Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!