UNWTO Secretary-General at Tianguis: Despite "Walls Being Built," World Is Still "Beautiful"

Acapulco was the site of the 42nd edition of Tianguis Turistico. // Photo by Joe Pike

While President Trump was never mentioned by name during the opening ceremony of the recently-concluded 42nd edition of Tianguis Turisitco in Acapulco, Mexico, several speakers did allude to his proposal to build a wall around the U.S.-Mexico border.

Perhaps the most vocal was UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb D. Rifai, who made reference to both Trump's wall and travel ban proposals before offering words of support to the country of Mexico.

"It still a beautiful world," says Rifai. "You hear about diseases, you hear about earthquakes, natural disasters, terrorism, walls being built, people being deprived of their rights to travel…many, many (inequalities) and sufferings, but the fact is we hear about them because we are connected today, we are becoming whole, we become aware."

Rifai went on to explain that travel is the great remedy for an otherwise chaotic political period in global travel.

"Travel and tourism is a calmness during this new world," he says. "We become better when we travel, our eyes open, our hearts open, our minds open, all stereotypes are broken. I traveled the world. I am a better person. When we travel, we become better people because there is nothing more powerful than people coming (together), rubbing shoulders and creating this new world."

And that's when Rifai tipped his hat to Mexico, specifically President Enrique Pena Nieto.

"That is why Mr. President, I very much appreciate your efforts in embracing this industry," says Rifai. "It's beyond just leisure, it's beyond just elite, rich people coming and spending money, it is recreating a new world all together and this is the kind of movement we should all be rallying around. That is why I respect Mexico."

Pena Nieto also made quite the impression on the opening ceremony as the crowd erupted and gave him a standing ovation as soon as he entered. Pena Nieto highlighted the importance of the tourism sector for Mexico and the continued focus and investment his administration would place on this fast-growing sector.

Mexico’s Minister of Tourism, Enrique De la Madrid, mentioned in the same inauguration ceremony that the country is prepared to receive both national and international tourists and will ensure that the tourism sector remains an engine of growth and development for the nation, generating improvements in infrastructure, connectivity and sustainability across all of its destinations.

The Latest News and Notes From Tianguis Turistico

The 42th edition of Tianguis Turistico wrapped up on Thursday, March 30, and drew more than 10,000 travel professionals, government officials and others looking to promote travel to and from Mexico. In fact, the attendance represented a 6 percent overall increase from last year's show.

Mexico’s Mazatlan was announced as the host city for Tianguis Turistico 2018, which alternates between Acapulco and other iconic destinations in Mexico each year.

Visit www.visitmexico.com and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all the latest travel news. Be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260.