One hundred and eighty Mexican towns were vying to be part of the magic at a tourism fair this week in Puebla, but only 28 made the grade.
That’s how many towns were officially added to the list of Pueblos Mágicos, or “Magic Towns,” a designation reserved for cities, towns and villages with special symbolic features, legends and history, and opportunities in tourism.
It is also intended to reduce the heavy reliance of the tourist industry on one of Mexico’s key attractions, sunshine and beach destinations.
The Pueblos Mágicos program is a tourism promotion concept launched in 2001 whose list now totals 111 with the newcomers, the first to be added to it in three years.
There are good reasons for a town wishing to be a part of this elite group. At the National Pueblos Mágicos Fair, which opened yesterday and runs till Sunday, Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid announced 4 billion pesos to add to the magic until the end of 2018.
The towns themselves will divvy up 400 million pesos next year for spending on maintenance, rebuilding historic centers, improving infrastructure, installing underground utilities, developing tourism products, training and other projects.
The federal money isn’t quite as much as it was in light of budget cuts, however. The 2016 allocation to the towns is down 20% from the money they have enjoyed this year.
But another benefit of the program is that it brings more visitors and an economic benefit estimated at 768 pesos a day spent on average by each. The increase in visitor numbers and income is estimated to run between 20 and 30% for a town with the magic designation.
According to information on the Tourism Secretariat website, the new additions are Atlixco and Huauchinango in Puebla; Huautla de Jiménez, Mazunte, San Pablo Villa Mitla and San Pedro y San Pablo in Oaxaca; Isla Mujeres and Tulum, Quintana Roo; San José de Casas, Aguascalientes; Candela and Guerrero, Coahuila; Aculco, Ixtapa de la Sal, Teotihuacán, San Martín de las Pirámides and Villa de Carbón in the State of México; Tecozahutla in Hidalgo; Mascota and Talpa de Allende, Jalisco; Sayulita, Nayarit; Linares, Nuevo León; San Joaquín, Querétaro; Mocorito, Sinaloa; Tlaxco, Tlaxcala; Palenque, Chiapas; and Coscomatepec, Orizaba and Zozocolco in Veracruz.
The full list can be found here.
Source: El Universal (sp)