The Pop Culture Travel Guide Jaunted has made a bold prediction that Why Veracruz, Mexico Will Have a Place on 'Hot Spot' Lists for 2014. Jaunted noted that “Anyone who has actually been to Mexico in the past few years knows the majority of the places are safe, filled with friendly people, and packed with a hell of a lot of culture.”

False information regarding safety in Mexico sways many away from traveling to the country with one of the world’s friendliest cultures. Those who choose to be realistic about safety misconceptions can take advantage of Mexico’s many attractive qualities.

The city of Veracruz has much appeal, including its lack of “touristy” qualities and its proximity to the outdoors. Mexico’s highest peak and the third-highest in North America, Pico de Orizaba (18,491 ft), is located about two hours from the Veracruz coast. There is only one resort in Veracruz and otherwise the land is completely undeveloped. The city is a perfect place to immerse oneself in true Mexican culture and locals embrace kind conversation with plenty of charm. Jaunted predicted that “those of us able to see through the dust cloud of media coverage understand that Mexico is one of the friendliest cultures around, and, to be honest, it is this incredible public misconception that makes Veracruz an even more attractive destination.”


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The super welterweight world championship pay-per-view showdown between Canelo Alvarez and the undefeated Floyd Mayweather will take place on Saturday, September 14 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. In spite of facing the most important fight of his career, Alvarez displays the collectedness of a man who is never worried.

Canelo, a redhead with matinee idol looks, is the No. 1 boxing attraction in Mexico. He is on the cusp of joining the same club as Mexican boxing legends like Carlos Zarate, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr., Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales.

What’s at stake? A victory over Mayweather would cement Canelo’s legacy as one of the all-time greats in Mexican boxing history.

Alvarez received advice from fellow Mexican boxer and mentor, Oscar De La Hoya, who lost to Mayweather in 2007, could give Alvarez the edge to defeat Mayweather. “Floyd is a different kind of fighter and this is a different kind of fight,” Alvarez said. “For every fight there’s a game plan. But that game plan can go out the window in the first round. So you have to have a Plan B and a Plan C. And that is what we’ll work on.”

“For one thing, youth is on his side,” De La Hoya said of the 23-year-old Canelo, who hails from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. “But the real advantage will be the intelligence. People will also be surprised with his speed.”


Las Vegas

The United States women’s national team will rival Mexico at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on September 3rd, live on Fox Sports 1, America’s new sports network.

The game will mark the first international soccer match on the new network. “This event will only bring the players together for a few days, but as always, we relish the opportunity to play an international match,” said U.S. head coach, Tom Sermanni. “Many of the US and Mexican players will be coming right out of their club seasons, so everyone should be fit. We know we will probably face Mexico in World Cup qualifying so it’s good to see them before that tournament.”

The last three U.S. vs. Mexico games were decided by just one goal, including when Mexico won at a 2-1 victory during qualifying for the 2011 Women’s world cup. The U.S., the number one team in the world, is 26-1-1 against Mexico.



President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, recently expressed his commitment to Mexico to be “a world tourism power” by announcing an investment of 8.63 billion dollars to improve the Mexican tourism sector. The investment will come from the National Tourist Business Council (CNET) and will create 28,097 direct jobs and 77,619 indirect jobs.

This sector is the third most important income of the Mexican economy and has suffered in recent years due to the country’s reputation, the H1N1 influenza and the global financial crisis of 2009.  The investment to this sector will carry out 176 projects (hotels, timeshares, airport infrastructure, restaurants, theme parks, golf courses, marinas, clinics, retirement communities) and will extend to 17 states with 27 tourist destinations.  

President Enrique Peña Nieto said, “The tourism industry generates a balanced sustainable development; it generates jobs especially for young people and women. It is also a safe route to the prosperous Mexico we have set as a national goal.”



Gerardo Llanes, chief marketing officer of The Mexico Tourism Board, recently unveiled the country’s new tourism slogan, “Mexico: Live It to Believe it” to the Mexico Tourism Summit. At an increase of about 10%, the Mexico Tourist Board will spend $43.3 million on promoting the country. Ads are intended to be, “unexpected, personal, surprising and emotional, with a focus on experience,” according to Llanes.

Llanes describes the ads as a “visual language made of memories.” One ad aims to rebrand Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit into “Vallarta Nayarit” and the other promotes Mexico City as a leisure destination. They are designed to trigger emotional responses from two target audiences; consumers ages 35 to 65 with a household income of $100,000-plus and ages 25-45 with a household income of $75,000. A preview shown to the Mexico Tourism Summit, an audience composed of 40 tour wholesalers, heads of travel agent groups and association leaders had an overwhelmingly favorable reaction.


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The home of the “father of surrealist cinema,” the late Luis Buñuel, will be a meeting place for Spanish and Mexican moviemakers, with workshops and exhibits to celebrate Spanish-language cinema. The home can only be visited during events, exhibits or by prior scheduling and the opening ceremony will lie on the 30th anniversary of Bunuel’s death. Bunuel's home is being presented as simply as the director left it when he passed away, and not with the museum treatment given to the much-visited Mexico City abodes of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky and surrealist painter Frida Kahlo.

In fact, Buñuel never imagined his house as a representation of his work, unlike Mexican director Guillermo del Toro's Southern California home, which is filled with images of the monsters and heroes of his films. Buñuel is regarded as one of cinema’s greatest directors because of the way he pushed the boundaries of taste and narrative. The décor of his home, however, is surprising to those familiar with his work. Although he spent much of his career criticizing the bourgeoisie, Buñuel, “lived like a petite bourgeois” according to author, Jose de la Colina. Filmmaker and son of Luis Buñuel said, “There was always imagination and humor and good food.” The unexpectedly normal home shows no signs of the shocking and bizarre images that were dreamed up inside, making it all the more intriguing.


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Claudia Ruiz Massieu in China

Mexican Secretary of Tourism Claudia Ruiz Massieu recently traveled to China to meet with officials of the National Tourism Administration of China (CNTA), headed by its Chairman Shao Qiwei. Mexico is seeking to promote Mexico as a tourism destination throughout Asia, including China. At the suggestion of Ruiz Massieu, she and her Chinese tourism counterparts agreed to propose to their governments that 2015 be declared the Year of Mexico-China Tourism.

Both sides expressed their willingness to encourage airlines to Mexico and China to explore the market for air transport between the two countries, establish new direct flights, and improve travel links between the two nations.

Between 2011 and 2012, Chinese travel to Mexico rose by 29.6 percent the highest recorded increase by any Asian country. Recent figures have been even more promising. Between January and April 2013, Chinese tourist arrivals to Mexico increase of 35.1 percent over the same period last year.



Baja California is making efforts to increase medical tourism in their state. By offering medical services 40-60% cheaper than in other countries, Baja California captures the attention of tourists who seek various types of medical services.

Secretariat of Health certified physicians offer specialties in dentistry, optometry, sports medicine and surgery. A number of tourists come to Mexico to undergo cosmetic surgeries (liposuction, Botox application and gastric banding) and to purchase medications.

While hosting an annual average of 450,000 tourists, mostly from the U.S., Baja California earns a foreign exchange of US$89 million from those seeking medical services. The state is planning to promote medical tourism in the U.S. by investing $15 million pesos to attract 15 million tourists who will bring an estimated $8 million in additional resources to this sector annually. The increase of medical tourism in Baja California arises because of the affordability of health care compared to the United States, which represents a competitive advantage for the Mexican entity as well as new business development opportunities.


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Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto kicked off National Entrepreneur Week in Mexico at Centro Banamex in Mexico City. President Peña Nieto was joined at the event by Secretary of the Economy Ildefonso Guajardo and Henry Jacob Rocha, predident of the Instituto Nacional del Emprendedor (National Instute of Entrepreneurship). 

National Entrepreneur Week is a joint project of the government of Mexico, the Secretariat of the Economy and the National Institute of Entrepreneurship. The week is focused on efforts to help small and medium-sized enterprises with access to capital and incentive programs to help Mexican entrepreneurs open, modernize and increase the productivity of their businesses. National Entrepreneur Week will feature more than 200 conferences and 300 exhibits on entrepreneurship. These events will stress such themes as financial literacy, digital innovation, networking and strategic competitiveness.

The role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was a key topic of discussion at the 2012 B-20 summit in Los Cabos. At the time, business leaders stressed the need for SMEs to access and benefit from global value chains, and for governments to include private business in the economic development strategy-making process.



Forbes Travel Guide recently explored Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe and discovered the many great wineries and attractions in the region. In particular, they explored the upcoming events in the Fiestas de la Vendimia.

This harvest festival from August 2 through 18 will feature special wine tastings and street parties. On August 7, the modern gourmet restaurant Laja will host a wine pairing dinner at Laja with prominent Mexican Chef Daniel Ovadia as a guest.

The wine pairing will reflect the best of Mexican’s fine wine country, which offers great variety from wineries using modern techniques, such as Hacienda La Lomita, to more traditional wineries such as Monte Xanic and Baron Balch’s.

In addition to the events of the festival, Forbes recommended many of the beautiful hotels in the region, including the Encuentro Guadalupe by Antiresortes, Adobe Guadalupe, and La Villa del Valle. Each of these boutique hotels offers accommodations with panoramic views of Mexican wine country. Adobe Guadalupe, in particular, offers its own winery for guests to explore.



According to Pirelli & C. S.p.A.’s “Industrial Plan 2011-2013 and Vision to 2015,” the company will launch a new plant in Mexico to serve the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) area, with an initial investment of $210 million.

“In 2015, around 60% of Pirelli’s production capacity will consist of plant and machinery launched in 2005 or after, and therefore less than 10 years old,” the plan states. Pirelli invested $200 million in building the plant, where production was inaugurated on May 31, 2012, and surpassed 1 million units on June 18.

Pirelli Tyre S.p.A. has detailed plans to put the second half of its $400 million investment in the company’s Silao, Mexico, factory toward so-called “green performance” tire production. Mexico’s president Enrique Peña Nieto met with a delegation of Pirelli’s top management, who illustrated the progress of the company’s investment in the country at the announcement.

Pirelli’s $400 million Silao investment forms part of the company’s strategic industrial plan presented in November 2011; the first $200 million has already been spent and investment of the remaining $200 million, to be completed by 2017, is already underway. The initial project and the new project in Mexico will create 1,400 direct jobs and about 400 indirect jobs in the period to 2017.

Green Performance involves a range of research, development and process technologies that are designed to deliver a "green tire that performs up to Pirelli's performance standards," according to Tom Gravelos, CEO of Pirelli Neumaticos S.A. in Mexico.



Mexico City is quickly becoming an international vacation destination. In 2012, the city experienced a 9% increase in international travelers from North America. This raised the number of total visitors to 12.5 million, with 3.1 million of these coming from outside of Mexico.

Visitors also remained in the city longer, taking advantage of the city’s 604 hotels and their 49,000-plus rooms. The hotel market continues to develop in Mexico City, where a new hotel has opened every month for the last three years.

Why is Mexico City experiencing such a boom in international leisure travel? Maurico Reyna, general director of Mexico City’s Tourism Promotion Institute, credits the “choice of accommodations, attractions, antiquities, and archaeological sites.”

The increase in tourism is part of a larger trend in Mexico City’s development. “Twenty years ago this was an old city,” Reyna said. “We’re growing again. We’ve recovered and have renovated.”

"Our visitor numbers in 2012 grew 9% from North America, helped by an increase in airlift from U.S. hubs," Reyna said during a Travel Weekly webinar last month. "Average spend also increased to $827 per visitor, and we've seen a longer length of stay in recent months."


Mexico City

Since 2009, Mexican trains have grown to haul 14% of the nearly $500 billion worth of goods that cross the US-Mexico border. As the cargo loads increase, the Mexican rail network has become competitive with its North American neighbors. As of 2013, Mexico’s train network has 26% of the North American rail market share compared to 20% 16 years ago. Mexico’s network is fully integrated with the North American system, allowing customers to move products seamlessly from Monterrey to Montreal. By 2023, these numbers could rise to 35%--just below US levels. "Our growth is limited by the size of the area," Ferrovalle's director, Erich Wetzel said. "We calculate that by 2017, we'll be near capacity here."

The increase in train traffic is due in part to the growth of Mexican export industries. As a result of the auto investments by companies such as Nissan, Mazda and Honda, cars rose from 4% of Mexican railway cargo to 16% between 2011 and 2013.

The rise in train cargo is, in turn, further spurring investment in Mexican infrastructure. One corporation, Grupo Mexico, will in invest a record $536 million in its rail business—up 10% from the usual spending levels.



General Motors Co. (GM) announced that it will spend $691 million to build and expand its factories in Mexico. According to the Mexican Auto Industry Association, GM has the second largest vehicle output in Mexico, behind Nissan. Mexico is the eighth largest producer of vehicles in the world.

Of the $691 million, $211 million will be spent on the expansion of Toluca, where GM builds V8 and four-cylinder engines, $349 million for the new transmission plant in Silao; $131 million to expand its San Luis Potosi Complex transmission plant and to build lighter and smoother transmissions with better fuel economy.

“General Motors is about to reach 78 years in Mexico and we celebrate it with this new investment, which means more employment and development opportunities for the regions,” said GM Mexico President Ernest Hernandez. GM spokeswoman Katie McBride said the investments will include adding jobs, but the numbers won’t be announced until the projects are further along.

GM also said its in-vehicle OnStar service that connects drivers to live operators for directions or emergency help is now available on select cars in Mexico. GM previously said it planned to expand OnStar into Mexico, which has more than 6.5 million subscribers in the United States, Canada and China.



With new infrastructure plans and rising international visits, Mexico’s tourism industry is an important and growing source of revenue. Tourism is currently Mexico’s fifth-biggest revenue area, and Mexican officials predict that in a few years tourism will contribute an even larger portion to the Mexican economy.

From 2011 to 2012 alone, Mexico’s tourism sector grew 10.5 percent generating $12.7 billion, according to a report by JP Morgan Chase & Co. Mexico is currently Latin America’s second biggest economy and received a record 24 million international visitors in 2012.

“Tourism is already one of the most important economic sectors for Mexico,” Tourism Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu said in an interview with Bloomberg New York. “We are confident that it can represent at least one percentage point more of GDP at the end of the administration and that we can become the third source of revenue at least.”

Tourists can expect to see some positive changes on their next visit to Mexico in the form of the government’s $23.3 billion investment plan to improve infrastructure, announced by Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto on June 20. With these plans, the Communications and Transportation ministry aim to alleviate congestion at the Mexico City airport and create easier, more convenient transportation connecting transportation hubs with more remote tourist destinations.