President Calderon Visits Puerto Vallarta with Peter Greenberg to film "Mexico: The Royal Tour"

Proclaiming 2011 as the "Year of Tourism in Mexico", President Felipe Calderon spent his vacation time showing CBS Travel Editor, Peter Greenberg, the highlights of this vast and diversely beautiful country.
By: Brenda Retzlaff
 
Feb. 8, 2011 - PRLog -- Tourists and locals alike were buzzing nearly as loudly as the low flying helicopters that canvased Puerto Vallarta and the Bay of Banderas last weekend. Rumors were flying around town,mainly that President Felipe Calderon was in Puerto Vallarta along with his security detail, but people already tainted by the media's focus on problems in Mexico, were positive something bad was going down.

It is true that President Calderon was in Puerto Vallarta and the only thing going down was the filming of a travel show. President Calderon has been traversing Mexico filming a "Royal Tour" of the country for PBS, hosted by CBS News Travel Editor; Peter Greenberg.

The premise of Peter Greenberg's travel show, “Royal Tour” is to travel with the head of state through their country, giving Mr. Greenberg a personal tour. Previous “Royal Tour” shows featured New Zealand, Peru, Jordan and Jamaica. After each new episode is aired, tourism greatly picked up in the country that was featured and if any country needs some good press at the moment, it would be Mexico.

A few years ago, if low flying helicopters circled the town and beaches, tourists would assume it was a new sightseeing tour or they were filming a movie. Sadly, current events and bad press have some tourists alarmed even when they hear the fireworks set off nightly from the Marigalante pirate ship.

Acknowledging that Mexico needs a better image, President Felipe Calderon has proclaimed 2011 to be the Year of Tourism in Mexico. With the Pan American games coming to Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta in October of 2011, Mexico's President and recently appointed Secretary of Tourism, Gloria Guevara  know that it is important to show the world that the vast majority of Mexico is safe for visitors to explore.

Flying high in 2008, Puerto Vallarta was a booming tourist town, welcoming nearly 3 million visitors that year, some of which switched their vacations to Vallarta after the hurricane in Cancun.

Sadly, the swine flu hysteria in 2009 with sensational news reports stating that travel to Mexico was unsafe, led many cruise ships to cancel their itineraries in Mexico. Puerto Vallarta was hit hard and tens of thousands of people lost their jobs and businesses. Tour companies and hotels had to cut staff, shops closed and the area struggled but held on and slowly started to come back to life.

Then, reports of drug cartels, murders and gang wars started to become the top nightly news in the United States and Canada. And while the vast majority of these tragedies occurred in the boarder towns of Mexico and the United States, sensational reporting led viewers to believe that all of Mexico was a war ground and that even safe and beautiful destinations were volatile. Although painted with a very broad paint brush of fear and violence, Puerto Vallarta, in fact, remains very safe and is an ideal tourist destination.

President Calderon, Gloria Guevara and Peter Greenberg were here to portray to the world that Puerto Vallarta is just that; safe, beautiful, diverse and idyllic. With camera crew in hand, the President along with Peter Greenberg spent an afternoon exploring the Malecon in downtown Puerto Vallarta. Stopping at each statue, chatting with passers-by and working their way along the beautiful boardwalk, their mission; to show television viewers the flip side of Mexico that the news is not reporting.

One of their days in Puerto Vallarta was spent at the Los Veranos Canopy Tour ( http://www.canopytours-vallarta.com/ ) just south of Puerto Vallarta, nestled in the jungle and mountains, along side the beautiful Orquidas River. Los Veranos Canopy Tour is the original canopy tour in Puerto Vallarta and has been in business here for over 10 years. Owners Jeff and Juliana Coates were deeply honored that President Calderon chose this tour for the “Royal Tour” show and for him and his family to do the zip-lining tour. “We were shocked, surprised and excited when we heard he was coming to Los Veranos, and of course very honored.” said Juliana Coates. “Our guides and staff were very excited to see President Calderon here, along with his family and Gloria Guevara. We have had celebrities in the past at our Canopy Tour, but never the President of Mexico.”

While one of the top rated and most loved tours in the area, Los Veranos Canopy Tour has also felt the effects of the media's often inaccurate portrayal of the area.  Remaining optimistic for the future, the Coates' hope that the “Mexico; The Royal Tour” program will help to show the beautiful side of Mexico and makes the viewers aware that Mexico is a huge country and that Puerto Vallarta, in particular, is a perfect vacation destination.

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