Financial experts predict that by 2040, five (5) emerging countries – China, India, Brazil, Russia and Mexico – together will have a larger economic output than the G-7 countries of the Western world that have dominated global affairs for centuries. (Fareed Zakaria, The Post American World, New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2008, p.19).
According to former US President Bill Clinton, who has stayed active in international affairs, “Mexico has a dynamic outlook similar to that of South America. It is important for Mexico to make the most of its economic potential, which is comprised of its natural resources and its people.”
The local economy in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo is based on the natural ecology, agriculture and tourism… all of which is based on the knowledge and abilities of its people, especially the youth who will lead the future. The Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero, Unidad Academica de Turismo (Tourism University) is designed to prepare the future leaders of the community.
Located in the “La Noria” area of Zihuatanejo, on a mountain top with a majestic panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, this newly-formed University has two (2) buildings, six (6) professors and about 200 students. The University offers bachelor degrees in Business Administration, and in Tourism Formation and Development. The academic program is for 4.5 years (9 semesters).
While the University has land and an expansive campus ground, it currently does not have sufficient financial resources to fully develop and equip the campus facilities. The “Universidad Autonoma de Guerrero” is state-funded and the State of Guerrero has less financial resources (tax revenues) than other more industrialized states in Mexico. Additionally, local students, many from lower-income families, pay tuition of only $200 Pesos per year – that’s only about $16.50 USD per year! The University has six (6) study salons with “elementary-school” type desks; most areas have no air conditioning. The University has a library room – but no books; and a computer laboratory facility with no computers.
The lack of sufficient financial resources however, does not negate the dedication of the faculty and the quality of education at the Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero. I recently had the privilege to observe four (4) undergraduate young men present and defend their theses to the Academic Committee of the University. Research papers were presented on developing strategies for promoting tourism in the destination; the design of vendor payment systems in a hotel; the effectiveness of current training programs for hotel employees; and the development of the luxury/grand segment of tourism. Absolutely outstanding work!
Dean, Lic. Héctor Arrieta Salinas, says, “If we are to properly prepare our local students to lead this community in the future, we will have to provide them with the educational resources that they need. Through our academic work, we will help bring more tourism into this area. More tourism means more jobs and financial resources for everyone.”
By Patricia Ann Talley, MBA and Editor
For more information about the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area, see: