Chichen Itza is part of a rather exclusive
club now, and Mexican tourism officials and travel suppliers are
doing their part to take advantage of that.
preserved remains of a sophisticated Mayan civilization, Chichen
Itza, in Mexico's Yucatan state, was named one of the New Seven
Wonders of the World this summer, after more than 100 million
people submitted their votes via Internet and telephone.
The contest was
launched in January by New Open World Corp., a nonprofit Swiss
Chichen Itza joins
the Great Wall of China, the Colosseum in Rome, the Taj Mahal in
India, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the Petra
archaeological site in Jordan and Machu Picchu in Peru.
So what does that
mean for tourism?
For one thing, it
means a bit more crowing about Mexico's archaeological treasures.
"The selection of Chichen Itza as one of the Seven Wonders
reinforces the Yucatan as one of the pre-eminent options
for cultural tourism in the world," said Francisco Lopez Mena, CEO
of the Mexico Tourism Board.
Nearly all of the
nearby tourist destinations have touted their proximity to the
ruins in recent weeks.
"Cancun is the
ideal gateway to Mayan culture," said Arturo Escaip Manzur, CEO of
the Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Cancun is about a
three-hour drive from Chichen Itza.
arrange day trips to nearby Mayan wonders from virtually any of our
hotels or tour operators," Escaip said. "We encourage visitors to
celebrate Mexico's culture and heritage by exploring these
marvelous sites, and through our success in revitalizing the
destination, we provide an exclusive opportunity to experience the
old and new of Mexico."
archaeological sites throughout Mexico is increasingly a focus of
tourism officials and private interests.
The secretary of
tourism for Mexico, the Mexico Tourism Board and the World Heritage
Alliance (which was founded by Expedia and the United Nations
Foundation) have extended their partnership to jointly promote and
preserve World Heritage sites in Mexico through 2012.
Mexico has 27
natural and cultural World Heritage sites that are protected under
the 1972 UNESCO World Heritage Convention.
"We're pleased that
the secretary of tourism and the Mexico Tourism Board are
strengthening their commitment to the World Heritage Alliance,"
said Timothy Wirth, president of the United Nations
is crucial to protecting and preserving key natural, cultural sites
throughout Mexico. It is also a leading example of how countries
can provide economic opportunities for local communities through
Chichen Itza repackaged
It's always been
relatively simple for travelers visiting any major tourist
destination on the Yucatan Peninsula to take a guided trip to the
ruins of Chichen Itza.
Now, with the
site's recent designation as one of the New Seven Wonders of the
World, some hotels have introduced packages that make the site an
integral part of the vacation experience.
Resort, a Small Luxury Hotels of the World member on the
Riviera Maya, has introduced a 7th World Wonder package, which
reduces the roundtrip travel time between the hotel and Chichen
Itza from seven hours to three -- the morning departure is by car,
but visitors return to the hotel by private plane. The five-night package includes a private tour and
picnic lunch for two people at Chichen Itza. Also included are accommodations in a garden suite, daily
breakfast and roundtrip transfers to and from the Cancun
airport. Prices start at $3,455. Call
(877) 528-3490 or visit www.hotelesencia.com.
Xcanatun, a boutique hotel just outside the city of
Merida, is offering a Wonder Package, available through April 31
(blackout dates run from Dec. 15 to Jan. 7). The three-night, double occupancy package includes a private
excursion to Chichen Itza as well as daily breakfast and roundtrip
Merida airport transfers. Prices start
at $780 for two. Call (888) 883-3633 or visit www.xcanatun.com.
" The Hotel
Riviera Caribe Maya in Playa del Carmen offers a
budget-priced Chichen Itza hotel package that includes a
three-night stay and a group tour of the site. Prices start at $339, per person. Call (011) 52-984-87-31193
or visit www.hotelrivieramaya.com.
contact reporter Mark Chesnut, send e-mail [email protected].