Apocalypse tourism: Where will you celebrate doomsday?
Where some see apocalypse, others see opportunity.
December 21, 2012 marks the end of the current cycle of the Mayan “Long Count” calendar. And while this has had some fearful types preparing for the end of the world, others have been preparing to travel.
The Mexican government is expecting 52 million tourists to visit the five regions -- Chiapas, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Campeche, over the next 12 months, says the Latin American Herald Tribune.
According to goverment reports, the boom is part of Mexican President Felipe Calderon's tourism campaign: "Mundo Maya 2012," to promote Mexico as a unique destination.
So, if you're wondering where to spend the last tourist dollars you’ll have as a breathing human being or just want to see the looks on those faces when December 21 comes and goes uneventfully, here are a couple ideas in and out of Mexico that are worth checking out.
This homely border town between Mexico and Guatemala has installed a large digital clock in the city to count down the days until December 21, 2012, according to The Daily Mail.
The 2.5-meter digital clock began its countdown on December 21, 2011.
Once you’ve checked out the clock, head over to the Mayan archeological site, Izapa, where “The Tree of Life” stone was discovered in the 1950s.
Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Visitors to the resorts between Cancun and Playa Del Carmen are putting messages and photos in time capsules that will be buried for 50 years, as reported by The Daily Mail.
According to the official Cancun website, large ceremonial centers including the ruins of Tulum, Palenque and Chichen have been prepping for the arrival of thousands of expected apocalypse tourists.
The tourism board acknowledges its promotional doomsday motives and says “Whatever your beliefs may be, come and be part off a very historic experience.”
The board also recommends to “Plan your trip to these archeological sites in advance so that you have a spot in a memorable celebration that won't take place for another 5,125 years!”
Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
Alternatively, visit the brand new Maya museum set to open in Yucatan in June 2012.
The government of Yucatan is launching its big budget Merida Museum of Maya, estimated to cost 411 million pesos (US$30 million), to house nearly 750,000 Mayan objects, as reported by the Yucatan Times.
Xunantunich, Cayo District, Belize
California based travel guide, Moon Travel Guides, advises going to the Cayo District in Belize on December 21, 2012.
The historical stone site Xunantunich will reportedly host a festival with a concert within the ruins. There will also be an Olympic-like torch run, where torches will be brought to the site in four directions, to usher in the next 5,125 years.
For more updates on the 2012 festival visit www.moon.com.
Calakmul reserve, Campeche, Mexico
Wondering where to stay for the festivities? Keep your eye on the Calakmul reserve in Campeche.
The Daily Mail reports that Mexican officials are planning to build a state-run tourist hotel at the archeological site in Calakmul in the state of Campeche.
The former town was a powerful Mayan city and is sure to bring in throngs of history-curious tourists. More details of the hotel are yet to be released.