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World bikini faceoff, travel trade fair among events slated for Cancun in May

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Memo to tourists heading to Mexico: If you're planning a vacation on the powdery beaches of Cancun in early May, you'll have mucho company. Like lots of models, photographers, designers, hair stylists and makeup artists who've gone there for the final round of this year's International Bikini Model Search (May 1-7 at the Oasis Sens). And you'll likely run into lots of delegates to the 14th World Congress on Menopause (May 1-4 at the Cancun Convention Center).

What's more, the resort will be buzzing with thousands of visitors busily taking notes at its hotels, beaches, restaurants and discos. That's because Cancun's home state, Quintana Roo, was selected as this year's host for a huge travel trade fair called Tianguis Turistico (May 6-9).

In case you're wondering who all these people are, and what they're doing there, Tianguis is a word borrowed from the old-time Aztecs meaning “marketplace.” Ancient traders got together to dicker over things like feathers, corn and chocolate; today, Tianguistas haggle over hotel rooms, airline seats and things to see and do on the ground.

Most Tianguis delegates are “suppliers” (representing Mexican resort areas, individual hotels, airlines and ground operators) who come to meet “buyers” (mainly wholesalers or tour operators who package air and ground products for sale to the public through travel agencies) from Mexico, the U.S., Canada and dozens of other countries.

An especially big turnout is expected this year, perhaps topping the 7,000 delegates who came to Puebla in the Mexican heartland for Tianguis 2013.

Next time you're planning a vacation south of the border, chances are the bargain rates you'll see in the travel ads – one might say: “7 nites in Cancun for $750 PPDO incl. air” – came from a deal cut at Tianguis.

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