Nine new magical towns will be named later this month, increasing the total number of destinations with the designation to 120.
Future tourism secretary Miguel Torruco Marqués said the current federal government will announce which towns will join the Pueblos Mágicos program at the National Magical Towns Fair, which will be held in Morelia, Michoacán, from October 11 to 14.
The program, launched in 2001, recognizes towns that have special features that are attractive to visitors and is designed to increase tourism.
But Torruco believes the number of towns that have been designated as magical is excessive and said that once the incoming government takes office, the Secretariat of Tourism (Sectur) will conduct a review of the program to establish whether the pueblos mágicos are complying with the rules and obligations.
He contended that the magical towns strategy has become politicized and that authorities have prioritized the funding of certain newly-designated towns and forgotten about other destinations that have been part of the program longer.
The president of the Mexican Travel Agency Association, Jorge Hernández Delgado, said last year that decisions about which destinations receive the “magical towns” designation come down to negotiations between state governors and federal authorities and money is the main motivator.
More than 100,000 people are expected to attend next week’s national fair in the Michoacán state capital, where an economic spillover of more than 220 million pesos (US $11.7 million) has been predicted.
Michoacán Tourism Secretary Claudia Chávez López told the news agency Notimex that “each magical town will showcase its artisanal, gastronomic, cultural and historical offerings” at the fair.
Chávez added that because the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has designated technology as an industry focus in 2018, 15 tech companies will be showing off their tourism-oriented innovations in Morelia.
A cooking contest with 32 participating chefs will also be held, the secretary said, while representatives of each of the 111 magical towns will take a tour of the nearby town of Pátzcuaro, which this year is celebrating 16 years since it became a pueblo mágico.