*¿Dónde está la playa?
A quick look at a map of Mexico will tell you that its capital, Mexico City, lies pretty much smack dab in the middle of the country. With the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico a five-hour drive in either direction, Mexico City is as landlocked as they come. Unlike many other major cities, it doesn't even have a river.
So this may come as a bit of a surprise that a study on tourism in the Mexican capital, conducted by the city's business association COPARMEX, found that almost 30% of potential foreign visitors to the bustling megalopolis said they were particularly looking forward to enjoying "its beaches."
As daily Publimetro reports, most respondents to the study, hailing from 17 different countries, even named names — citing "Cancún and Acapulco" (respectively 1,600 and 400 km away) as the beaches they couldn't wait to go to.
Cancun, a two-hour flight away from Mexico City — Photo: David Vives
Alberto de la Fuente, the head of Moratti Strategic Business which compiled this Macro Study on Reactivating the Tourist Economy, said the results were "not a mistake" but actually showed the "potential" of what he called "zero customers': tourists who indeed know very little about Mexico but could be attracted with the right advertising campaigns.
The city of 9 million inhabitants, which recently branded itself as the Cultural Capital of the Americas, was founded by the Aztecs in the 14th century — on water, ironically. But the spread of diseases like cholera and malaria in the then island capital known as Tenochtitlán led to the decision to drain its lake and pave over its rivers (much to sunbathers' chagrin).
Despite Mexico City's outstanding monuments, countless museums, bars, restaurants, markets, parks, and even a zoo, the study also showed that 60% of potential visitors weren't interested in visiting the capital because of its reputation as a polluted and crime-riddled city. Still, half of those who did visit, said they would return — beach or no beach.