Mexico riding the doomsday wave

Comment on this story
iol travel jan 16 mexico REUTERS Mexico came in at number 10.

Tourism officials said that 2012 will be a special year for Mexico, even though they don't expect the world to end Dec. 21.

The Tourism Department says it will spend $8 million promoting tourism to the “Mayan World,” the southeast Mexico region where the Mayan culture thrived. The area extends into Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Doomsday prognosticators' belief that the Maya predicted the end of the world for December 2012 has brought attention to one of Mexico's great cultures. Officials reject the prediction but hope the attention will draw tourists.

Tourism Secretary Gloria Guevara expects 52 million tourists over the 1½ years of the plan. That would be 12 million more than usual, and could bring as much as $14.6 billion in extra tourism revenue.

Authorities issued a suggested itinerary for visitors that includes Comalcalco, an archaeological site where one of the few engraved Mayan references to 2012 has been found.

The Mayan civilization, which reached its height from A.D. 300 to 900, had a talent for astronomy.

Its Long Count calendar begins in 3114 B.C., marking time in roughly 394-year periods known as Baktuns. Thirteen was a significant, sacred number for the Mayas, and the 13th Baktun ends on Dec. 21, 2012.

Experts say the date was considered significant for the Maya, but doesn't imply an apocalypse. Rather it is the beginning of another calendar cycle, they say. - Sapa-AP

Get our new, free Travel newsletter - subscribe here...

sign up

Comment Guidelines

  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

  5. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. You are only required to verify your email address once to have full access to commenting on articles. For more information please read our comment guidelines