Guadalajara, Mexico Meeting Planning Overview
A metropolis of 5.5 million inhabitants, Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city, is famous for its modernity and for its electronic and information technology industries. Hotel venues in Guadalajara comprise 9,000 hotel rooms, and the city's meeting venues have been welcoming international business since the signing of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Guadalajara is also home to one of the largest communities of expatriates from the U.S. and Canada (20,000), which has led to many bilingual services in the area. The expatriate community expands from Guadalajara to the nearby scenic towns of Lake Chapala and Ajijic. Guadalajara offers many English-language clubs, churches, libraries, a theater, hospitals with bilingual staff and a weekly newspaper, The Colony Reporter.
The International Airport of Guadalajara is located 25 minutes from downtown. Since 2008, the airport has expanded international operations significantly; its 350 daily operations make it the second-busiest airport in Mexico, after the Mexico City International airport. And it is just a four-hour drive from Mexico City thanks to the Guadalajara-Mexico City superhighway.
The recently remodeled Expo Guadalajara is the city's largest exhibition center, holding up to 50,000 people. Guadalajara hosts national and international events, such as the annual International Book Fair, the second largest in the world, as well as the 2004 Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union Summit, and the 2010 International Telecommunication Union Plenipotentiary Conference.
About Guadalajara, Mexico / Additional Info
With over 450 years of history, Guadalajara was founded in 1542 and named after its founder's birthplace in Spain, the conquistador Nuno Beltran de Guzman. Guadalajara derives from Arabic, meaning "river that runs between rocks." The city was first established as part of the New Kingdom of Galicia under the rule of the viceroy of New Spain, and became the capital of New Galicia in 1560. Guadalajara's newly gained status as an important city of New Spain invited an influx of Spanish families, politicians, Catholic missionaries and slaves. In 1792, Mexico's second university, the University of Guadalajara, was established; it operates to this day as one of the country's most prestigious schools.
Guadalajara played an important part in Mexico's War of Independence. It was in 1810 in Guadalajara that the priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla led one of the first Mexican insurgencies into the city, which was ultimately defeated and with many casualties. Hidalgo's petition for independence and the abolition of slavery was ultimately granted 10 years after his death in 1821 whereby the state of Jalisco became an independent state and Guadalajara its capital.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, Guadalajara has been the forerunner of industrialization in Mexico, inviting industry and commerce, large and small. With the creation of financial and commercial zones, contemporary Guadalajara represents modern Mexico with a solid economic, industrial, and commercial and service infrastructure. Guadalajara has proven to be one of Mexico's leading cities for its continual growth and development thanks to its variety of products and services that have positioned the city as a safe place for investment. The city is known for its strong information technology, electronic and software industries, as well as for its high international investment, low unemployment rates and young population.
Known as the "Pearl of the West," Guadalajara is described as a friendly city and known for its people and traditions, Guadalajara is also one of Mexico's top three financial cities. Guadalajara represents Mexican culture with its folklore, like the renowned Mariachis, the arts, tequila and Mexico's national sport, "la charreria" or rodeo. The city's appreciation for the tradition and culture is visible in monuments, parks, fountains, murals and cultural buildings that adorn the city.