Acapulco wants its shine back: it reopens its beaches

15/07/2020

The iconic Mexican Pacific resort Acapulco resumes activity this July with the expected reopening of beaches and the desire to regain its shine after three months in quarantine.

Acapulco reopens its beaches. Photo: Jeff Futo via Flickr
Acapulco reopens its beaches. Photo: Jeff Futo via Flickr

With crystal-clear beaches, radiant sunshine, and an extraordinary climate, the coastal city reopened its beaches, hotels, and restaurants to tourists, after turning orange at the epidemiological traffic lights that show what activities are reopening in Mexico.

"Today we begin this stage of reopening but in a moderate way. People will have the opportunity to visit the beaches but with respect, we have to adapt to the new reality we are living," said the Secretary of Municipal Tourism, Jose Luis Basilio.

Despite the fact that the golden beaches are one of the main tourist attractions of the port because of their warm water, they now have a 12-hour access time; from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., local time.

In addition, rules have been added for your entrance so you must use masks. Only individual activities such as walking, running or swimming, and meetings of up to three people are allowed, keeping the distance. For this reason, beach furniture, food, and drinks are currently prohibited.

For Acapulco, the model of tourist service has changed and today the issue of health care has greater weight, so service providers see it as an area of opportunity to attract a more responsible tourist.

"It is also up to us to see that this does not become a rebound and close again. Right now tourism is going to feel a little strange with the new way of working, but people have to understand it to avoid contagion," said the president of the Caleta and Caletilla Restaurants, Jose Luis Laredo Vargas.

The Business Coordinating Council (CCE) of Guerrero reported that in April and early May alone, 60,000 jobs were lost in the state due to the health emergency, of which 10,000 were formal jobs.

Although the hope is beginning to breathe in Acapulco, the reality of returning to the tourist destination before is far from being seen.

"More than 480 businesses will not be able to open their doors again due to the economic problems that the pandemic has left for micro and medium enterprises," said the president of the Federation of State Chambers of Commerce in the state of Guerrero, Alejandro Martinez Sidney.

For the city's businessmen, it was not enough to reopen the hotel business in order to reactivate the economy of the place, since they consider that a good part of the total income comes from the nightlife.

"Bars and nightclubs represent 40% of the income for Acapulco," said Martinez Sidney, regretting that there is still no date for the reopening of bars, nightclubs, and entertainment centers, among others.

Only in the winter vacation season, 2019-2020 more than half a million tourists visited the port of Acapulco leaving an economic spill of $2,765 million pesos (about $123 million).

"We already have reservations for tomorrow. Let's hope that little by little we can get there," said the manager of the Hotel Elcano, Pedro Haces, who encouraged tourists to stay inside the hotel and follow the established regulations.

But not everyone likes the new standard with which Acapulco will receive them, so tourists have complained about the rules they have to abide by in order to stay on the beaches.

"How I am going to be with a mask in the sea, is something illogical as well as not being able to have my food", said a tourist to the security personnel that are in the main accesses to the beaches and informs about the established measures.

While for others, it is a privilege to be back in "paradise".

"It's very hot to wear a mask on the beach, but it's the price you have to pay. It's either this or being locked up in your house," said Laura, who, along with her husband and two children, wanted to venture into the new normal of the Acapulco.

By EFE