Mexico City plans U.S. ad campaign

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MEXICO CITY -- The Mexico City Tourism Authority unveiled plans to launch a year-long advertising campaign in the U.S., as well as details of millennium celebrations, a major art exhibit and renovations to the city's anthropology museum.

The advertising initiative, part of efforts to spotlight Mexico City as a leisure destination, will kick off in December and run through November 2000. The campaign, which will include trade and consumer print ads as well as television spots, will emphasize special-interest travel and events planned to mark the city's 675th anniversary, according to Augustin Arroyo, president of the MCTA and secretary of tourism for Mexico City.

Mexico's capital city is indeed a festive one that proudly celebrates its rich cultural heritage and deep historic roots -- and often. "We are focusing on things like architecture, gastronomy, history, shopping and religious tourism," Arroyo said. "As the oldest capital in the continent, a lot of the promotion also will be centered around festivities for the anniversary March 13 in the zocolo [the city's main square]," he added.

Events marking the anniversary will be featured throughout the city from February through November, Arroyo said.

The advertising campaign is one of several initiatives that have been carried out by the MCTA since its inception in September 1998.

This year, the MCTA unveiled a new logo for Mexico City; introduced a Web site, www.mexicocity.gob.mx, and launched a public relations campaign that sheds light on the city's assortment of attractions for the leisure traveler and efforts to ensure tourist safety throughout the city.

The authority also is spearheading an ongoing familiarization trip program, designed to give travel agents, tour operators and the media a first-hand experience of Mexico City.

Arroyo said the MCTA's plans for 2000 include educational seminars for travel agents and tour operators in markets such as California, Chicago, Florida, New York and Texas. The authority also hopes to hold the first Mexico City travel fair next year, although plans are still on the drawing boards.

For the millennium, Mexico City will host a mitote (Aztec for big blowout) on Dec. 31 along Paseo de la Reforma, the city's main thoroughfare. "The event will be like a carnival or Mardi Gras with dancers, and we are encouraging the local community to get involved by hosting workshops so they can learn how to put together costumes and performances," Arroyo said.

The event will offer tourists a nonstop festival environment beginning at noon with events for children and families and continuing throughout the day and into the evening with music, dancing and fireworks.

The MCTA also is promoting an upcoming retrospective exhibit of the work of Mexican artist Diego Rivera. The exhibit, which will showcase more than 90 of Rivera's paintings and drawings, will be held Dec. 17 to March 19 at the Museum of Modern Art.

Improvements in the city's museum infrastructure include a $13 million renovation of the Museum of Anthropology, which is scheduled for completion in December 2000.

Elements of the renovation will include the addition of 2,000 newly discovered artifacts and the restoration of 23 showrooms. The project is the first major improvement for the museum, which opened in 1964.

Meanwhile, work has begun on a $300 million transformation of the city's historic center. Arroyo said the renovation of the zocolo, one of the elements of the project, is expected to be finished next year.

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