Latino social networking site launches tourism campaign

WEST PALM BEACH, FL: Latino social networking site Quepasa is launching a social media campaign aimed at showcasing the natural beauty of Acapulco, Mexico.

WEST PALM BEACH, FL: Latino social networking site Quepasa is launching a social media campaign aimed at showcasing the natural beauty of Acapulco, Mexico.

Beginning in late January, users will be asked to create and share with friends their dream vacation to the tourist spot, and select members who engage with the most friends will win free trips to Acapulco.

Florida-based Quepasa has more than 7 million users. It created the “Acapulco Revealed” campaign at the suggestion of a board member who was looking for a way to generate some positive press for the area, said Quepasa CFO Mike Matte. While members located in both North and South America are eligible to participate, this campaign is specifically targeting the US market.

“We wanted to help bring the image of Mexico up,” Matte said, noting the negative impact of news stories on H1N1 and drug cartels. “The country has received a bad rap. We want to publicize some of the beautiful imagery of Mexico.”

Similar to Facebook, Quepasa is a tri-lingual Web site, with translations for English, Spanish, and Portuguese. On the site, users can share photos, videos, and messages.

“It's word-of-mouth marketing for Hispanics,” said Janet Vasquez, director of PR at the company's AOR, The Investor Relations Group. “It's an engagement campaign, where the whole point is I'll tell my friends, and you'll tell your friends.”

Participating users will be able to choose from a set of nightspots, hotels, beaches, and restaurants provided by Acapulco's tourism board, and save the information in a special get-away file. The campaign is currently receiving support from the Municipality of Acapulco, which is helping organize local hotels and restaurants to participate in the giveaway.

Matte said contracts are currently being finalized on how many winners will be chosen and how many friends users will have to reach to be chosen. He added he hopes at least 1 million current users will choose to participate.

“We realized social networking could have many advantages for promoting a campaign like this, where the goal is to reach out to as many of your friends as possible to spread a message,” Matte said.

Quepasa has additional offices in Los Angeles, Arizona, Brazil, and Mexico. Quepasa was originally created in 1996 as a Latino search engine, and transitioned into a social networking site a few years later.

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