Meagan Drillinger
Meagan Drillinger

For decades Acapulco, the once-glamorous Hollywood getaway, has been far off the U.S. tourist trail, having developed a reputation for corruption, violence and a volatile uncertainty. However, recent investments from both the public and private sector are showing that confidence in Acapulco as a destination might just be on the rise.

It began at this year's Tianguis Turistico conference in Acapulco, where President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, in his remarks to attendees during the opening ceremony, voiced new hope and faith in the restoration of Acapulco as a tourist destination. His administration is investing $26 million in Acapulco this year, and an additional $26 million in 2020.

"Here in Acapulco, for example, [the city] has already started an urban development program in El Renacimiento neighborhood," he said. "We have committed resources for urban development, introducing water draining, improving the streets, putting in public lighting, expanding and creating centers for recreation and also public safety."

Also at Tianguis, Alex Zozaya, CEO of Apple Leisure Group, told members of the media that AMResorts has plans to open a Dreams hotel in Acapulco this year. According to Zozaya, this step is a move in the direction to help rebuild the reputation of Acapulco.

"The beauty of the bay, perfect weather year-round, and friendliness of the people are some of the attributes which make Acapulco a top destination in Mexico," said Gonzalo del Peon, president of AMResorts.

"Recently, Acapulco has seen a number of positive changes, which are contributing to renewed interest," he said, citing the opening last year of a new airport terminal and the 2017 opening of a tollway tunnel from the airport to Acapulco Bay. "With increased visitor confidence, and the addition of Dreams Acapulco Resort & Spa on Acapulco Bay, the destination is poised for growth within the North American market."

Earlier this month, American Airlines announced that it will fly twice weekly from Dallas/Fort Worth to Acapulco for the winter season. The last time American flew to Acapulco was in 2011. The route will fly with an Embraer E175 regional jet on Tuesdays and Saturdays as of Dec. 21, continuing into the summer. American will be the second carrier to fly between the U.S. and Acapulco, joining United, which flies Houston-Acapulco four times a week.

"At Apple Leisure Group Vacations, we are constantly looking for unique experiences for our customers and travel agents," said Ray Snisky, chief commercial officer for Apple Leisure Group. "While Acapulco has certainly seen some falloff in recent years, we are enthused by the progress being made there and the increased air service with United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and new flights recently announced from Dallas with American Airlines."

The addition of these new routes opens up the changes for AMResorts to start targeting American travelers to draw them to the new Dreams property. 

"The domestic Mexican market has been the primary tourism focus for Acapulco due to its accessibility from Mexico City," del Peon said. "However, flights are being added from the U.S. and Canada, and we believe there's an opportunity to increase North American tourism to this beautiful destination."

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