On Site - The 38th Tianguis Turistico Kicks off in Puebla, Mexico

It's a week of firsts in Puebla, Mexico this week as Travel Agent is on location attending the 38th annual Tianguis Turistico. This year's industry star-studded event is taking place off the beach (....way off the beach) - a first for the Tianguis legacy.

Up until this year, Tianguis was always held in a surf-and-sand destination, be it Acapulco or Puerto Vallarta. This is the first time in the event's history that it is held off the coast. The event kicked off March 17 at the convention center in Puebla, a colonial city about an hour from Mexico City. The event will run through Wednesday, March 20.

This is going to be Mexico's year to showcase more than just it's ocean and sand, and that is why hosting the destination in Puebla is so important to Mexican officials. "There were doubts about changing the venue of Tianguis Turistico," says Rafael Moreno Valle, governor of Puebla. "But it is great to show a new face of our country."

The event has pulled 500 exhibitors from 42 countries, and the event is already on track to exceeding expectations in terms of income.

"The event is so popular that we had to get rooms in nearby cities," says Claudia Ruiz, the secretary of tourism. "We are all here to get something other than sun and beach. Puebla shows the diversity of Mexico's tourism offerings."

Among the themes of tourism that Mexico is looking to highlight are medical tourism, sports. archaeology, luxury and the MICE market.

And this does not apply to just Puebla. Destinations in Mexico that are typically known for only sun and sand are looking to embrace the diversification. For example, Cancun and Riviera Maya, usually known only for luxury beach resorts, bars and clubs, is looking to embrace its cultural heritage and will continue to promote its Mayan history throughout the year (the new Mayan museum in Cancun is a perfect example).

"Holding Tianguis Turistico in Puebla is very important to us," says Ruiz. We agree. It is time Mexico's many talents share the stage.

Stay tuned to www.travelagentcentral.com for more updates throughout the event.

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