Hurricanes and earthquakes are tough on tourism.
The tourist industry in Puebla — and Pueblos Mágicos, or Magical Towns, in particular — is suffering from the effects of the September 19 earthquake coupled with Hurricanes Franklin and Katia.
Visitor numbers to the state’s 10 Magical Towns are down 70%, say tourism officials.
The triple-whammy of natural disasters triggered declarations of emergency in 175 of Puebla’s 271 municipalities. And eight of Puebla’s Magical Towns are located in them.
Chignahuapan, Cuetzalan, Tlatlauquitepec, Xicotepec and Zacatlán were affected by heavy rainfall, while Atlixco, San Andrés and San Pedro Cholula reported damage from the earthquake.
The two towns that were spared are Pahuatlán and Huauchinango.
In Atlixco, the director of the municipal tourism office told the digital newspaper e-Consulta that the number of visitors to the town’s historic centre dropped by 50%, and that restaurants reported 70% fewer visitors than usual.
The earthquake severely damaged historic buildings and businesses alike, including three hotels. Two of those are scheduled to open their doors again within the next 20 days, explained Héctor Alejandro Pérez López.
He added that seven affected restaurants in Atlixco’s center will be reopening.
The municipal administration is awaiting to hear more from the federal government after support was pledged for affected tourism service providers.
The Magical Town of Cuetzalan is celebrating its annual fair this week but the municipal tourism director has reported that hotel occupancy rates are at 50%, and cancelations keep pouring in.
In past years, said Misael Morales Baltazar, no rooms were available during the fair at the town’s 52 hotels. The two hurricanes have had lasting effects on the municipality, where just last weekend a landslide halted traffic on the road to Zacapoaxtla.
Even though no damages were reported due to the earthquake, Morales said that people are afraid to go out. To counter the fear, municipal authorities are set to launch a media campaign to encourage them to do so.
Source: e-Consulta (sp)