Hoteles de Acapulco llenos, a pesar de la violencia

BY LAURA REYES MACIEL
El Universal
December 18, 2005
ACAPULCO.- In spite of a recent spate of organized and violent crime, hotel owners at this beach resort are reporting that 90 percent of the city´s 18,257 hotel rooms are already reserved for the Christmas vacation week.
According to Mariberta Medina Cortés, president of the Acapulco Association of Hotels and Tourist Businesses, these reservations indicate that neither domestic nor international tourists have been scared off by recent crime-related headlines.
«The problems that we are experiencing have been made known at every level,» she said. «The government of the United States has warned its citizens to be careful when going to (Acapulco), but the local government and those of us in the industry have done our part to protect tourists.»
In the last year, there have been at least 20 execution-style killings in and around Acapulco. Among the victims were two tourists, a prominent disco owner and an investigator for the state attorney general´s office.Nine police officers have also been killed in the city in 2005.
The federal government responded by extending its Operation Safe Mexico program – created for drug hotspots like Nuevo Laredo and Culiacán – to Acapulco, where more than 100 federal police arrived to boost local security.
Acapulco, the largest city in the state of Guerrero with a population of 700,000, sees an average of 1.5 million tourists visit every year – including 150,000 U.S. citizens.
Meanwhile, industry leaders in Guerrero´s second-largest resort area, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, say that security concerns have also failed to impact their holiday reservations.
Edison Siecola Blengini, president of the local hotel owners association said that reservations are already up 6 percent from last year.
«We have high hopes for this vacation season,» he said.

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