|Luis Eduardo Ros, standing, and Mauricio Reyna, seated.// Photo courtesy of the author.|
When they came to Travel Agent’s New York offices recently, Mauricio Reyna, deputy secretary of tourism for Mexico City, and Luis Eduardo Ros, director general of Mexico City’s Institute of Tourism Promotion, immediately acknowledged the negative publicity that has surrounded their city lately.
“The images in the paper are sensational,” Ros said. “Other places have similar violence, but it isn’t published like it is in Mexico. We don’t have a national strategy for our national image.”
That is what Ros and Reyna are looking to change. “Mexico City has a Public Security Minister appointed by the Mayor,” Reyna told us. “There are 60,000 police officers and 8,000 security cameras throughout the city, all monitored 24 hours per day.” Mexico City is the only city in Mexico with this level of security, he added. Other areas can get tied up in bureaucracy, but Mexico City’s police force answers only to the Public Security Minister.There are other images of Mexico City Ros and Reyna are looking to promote. With 160 museums (including the brand-new and architecturally stunning Museo Soumaya), 31 archeological and historic sites and more than 100 art galleries, they feel that the city is on par with any in Europe in terms of history, art and culture. Murals by legendary modern artists (think Diego Rivera) can be seen on walls by the University, and several streets are being closed off either permanently or for one day each week to serve as pedestrian walkways. The city is also getting some new (and notable) hotels and resorts. The W Santa Fé is slated to open in 2014, joining the existing W Mexico City, which itself will be getting a “significant renovation.” Marriott International will open the Courtyard Mexico City Airport next year close to Benito Juarez International Airport, which will join the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel that is scheduled to open in the same area this year. Best of all: A new green plan has promoted the use of bikes throughout the city, and the air is already notably cleaner.