Yucatan Targets Domestic Tourism
With a growing economy, more Mexicans than ever before are now looking at vacation destinations for themselves and their families. Add more successful businesses on the hunt for a place to hold national and international conventions and what you find is that Merida, with its safety, infrastructure and cultural offerings, totally fits the bill. This is not lost on the Tourism Department of Merida or Yucatan. It has just been announced that domestic tourism will now be the focus of the tourism efforts of Merida and Yucatan State and that those efforts will be aimed at not only families, but at governments, government agencies, and the industrial sector. We noticed just last year, during the Youth Olympics, that the numbers of just athletes, coaches, and family members were huge and, if this can be carried across all sectors, Merida’s tourism numbers should be excellent for 2013. We are also glad to see that the tourist departments are now focusing beyond the hype of 2012 on more sustainable sectors.
Tourism Numbers in Perspective
This week, there was a headline about the fact that, for three days in a row, there was an average of 27,800 tourists per day leaving Cancun by air. That seems to be a whole lot of folks leaving one city, unless you are aware that they were not all vacationing in Cancun itself. The Cancun airport serves both domestic and foreign tourists who visit all over the Yucatan Peninsula. The casual observer would also have to be aware that numbers of tourists for the end of 2012 was up dramatically because of the end of the Maya long count calendar. The good news is that the airport is handling the crowds well and even better news is that the tourists keep on coming. The Maya long count calendar may have turned a page, but the beauty of the Yucatan and the warm weather are gifts that keep on giving to this part of the world.
“Bandas War” in Tizimin
Can you imagine an event in which the organizers arrive at the local fairgrounds and simply hunt around for a good place to hold a concert that is to take place that very night? Can you imagine the time for the event to be something along the lines of “an hour after we find a place?” Can you imagine 1,800 people showing up to attend this showcase of young bands with names like: Musical Stampede, The Condemned, Sol Girls, Phenomenon, Girl Dynamite and the Cleyver Group. These young people loved the music and the opportunity. Some were serious about it, and some turned their experience into hilarious comedy routines. All in all, it looks as if the future of Tizimin, if left in the hands of this caliber of young people, is brighter than we have ever seen it. Congratulations to every band member, disk jockey and audience member for a job well done!
Seaweed: Which Way Did That Dump Truck Go?
A few weeks ago, there was an announcement that there will soon be two new power plants, 7 km outside of Valladolid, that will use seaweed to produce jet fuel and biodiesel. For the past three to four weeks, there has been a huge beach cleanup effort going on in the Municipality of Progreso that resulted in 29 dump trucks of seaweed being picked up. Twenty-eight of those loads of seaweed made it to the landfill and will be used later as fertilizer. The 29th dump truck headed off to Instituto Technologico de Conkal, which just happens to be part of the same Mexican science and technology agency that is overseeing the biofuel projects out toward Valladolid. Although Conkal is part of the Greater Merida Metropolitan Area, it is also between Merida and the new biofuel plants. It looks to us as if Motul may not be the only “great little college town” east of the city these days. Our congratulations to all of the researchers and students who spend their young lives developing new ideas for the Yucatan.
Red Cross Asks for Ongoing Support
This is a bit of a primer for newbies about La Cruz Roja, but the need is great and reality is what it is. These are three facts that cannot be ignored:
(1) There is one annual collection drive for La Cruz Roja and the proceeds take care of fixed expenses for the seven free services that La Cruz Roja provides and the personnel to operate them.
(2) This past Sunday was Three Kings’ Day. La Cruz Roja distributed well over 1,000 toys to poor children in rural towns and villages. Those toys had to be purchased new.
(3) La Cruz Roja provides free ambulance service within Merida, and also handles ambulance service between Progreso and Merida. One ambulance is in the shop and the air bags on the other are non-operational. The Red Cross is asking for help, especially in the Municipality of Progreso. If you do not want to give money, they may be able to take a case of oil, or a toy for next year. If your budget simply can’t handle another charity, why not volunteer as a painter or carpenter? Either way, if you are an expat in Yucatan, please consider supporting La Cruz Roja. They are not perfect, but Yucatan would not be the same without them.
Hamacas Merida Donates to Hostels
In many rural areas of Yucatan, indigenous children live at school during the week and, sometimes, travel home for weekends and holidays. These schools, called hostels, are woefully underfunded but by some miracle, manage to survive and give the children what they need. Hamacas Merida has a long history of community service and this holiday season was no exception. Hamacas Merida donated 60 handmade hammocks to the Indigenous Hostel Schools Program. The total program serves 35 shelters and three soup kitchens in Yucatan. Hamacas Merida is certainly to be congratulated for making sure that 60 children have a good night’s sleep in a new bed of their own now.