from the Tucson Sentinel
This colonial Mexican city recently received a special guest. Malia Obama, the U.S. president's 13-year-old daughter, walked through the city's elegant, ornate churches on a school field trip with 12 classmates and two dozen security guards.
Their itinerary, at the end of last month, included visits to the massive Monte Alban archeological site and the "world's biggest tree" El Tule.
The visit caused a stir. In Oaxaca, everybody seemed aware of Malia's trip — particularly the region's tourism boosters. The head of the hoteliers association attributed a recent spike in occupancy specifically to Malia. One Oaxaca promoter even joked the city should start its own "Malia was here" campaign.
The field trip gave Oaxaca what Mexico's tourism industry craves so much right now: positive press.
The bulk of Mexico's vital tourism economy comes from U.S. travelers. The country's drug war has damaged its reputation with its most frequent visitors. As a result, Mexico is trying to change perception by any means necessary.
"We believe that we have to rebrand to the Americans," said Niza Lopez, head of Oaxaca's international promotion. "Yes, there are unsafe areas in Mexico, but also there are areas like the state of Oaxaca where really there's almost no violence or crime."It is all true. Come and see for yourself