by Michael J. Shapiro | May 09, 2011

Expo Guadalajara, the primary convention space in Mexico's second-largest city, on Friday celebrated the opening of Salón México, a newly built, 301,000-square-foot hall that brings the venue's total to nearly 840,000 square feet. The space was inaugurated with a tour for state politicians and local business leaders, followed by a banquet luncheon in the new hall. The addition consists primarily of the 280,000-square-foot Salón México exhibit hall, plus four event spaces that provide an additional 18,729 square feet. Officials from the 2011 Panamerican Games, to be held in Guadalajara this October, announced they will use nearly all of the venue's new space. The international press office, logistics headquarters and technology control center will all be housed there, as will a boxing arena. Installation of the event's tech infrastructure and high-definition television studios begins this week in the Expo.
Driving the Expo's expansion, in addition to the Panamerican Games, was the goal of attracting more business from elsewhere in Mexico and abroad -- including from the United States. "That's our challenge," incoming Expo president Arturo Farías Torres told M&C in an interview during the inaugural event. "We must work with all of the appropriate government and tourism offices to provide information about our facility, to let organizers know we have all of the infrastructure required to hold a successful event and to make it as easy as possible for them to do so." Farías said the Expo is currently developing a concrete proposal, along with the state government of Jalisco and the Guadalajara Office of Visitors and Conventions, to host Mexico's Tianguis Turístico next year. The proposal will be submitted this week. This past March, the Mexican government announced that Tianguis Turístico, the country's largest tourism trade show, would rotate among different domestic venues beginning in 2012. The show has been held exclusively in Acapulco for its first 36 years.