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San Miguel to go after meetings, wedding tourism with new center

There were 830 weddings in the city last year

With a view to reactivating business tourism, San Miguel de Allende will inaugurate its International Convention Center (CCI) in December while working to promote the recovery of wedding tourism.

The new conference center will provide a meeting and reception space for events and conferences that exceeds San Miguel’s current capacity, said Salvador de Anda of the municipality’s tourism council, and is modeled after convention centers in Los Cabos and La Paz, Baja California Sur.

Interviewed during the World Meetings Forum in Los Cabos where he was marketing the new space to the global meeting industry, de Anda said the 3,200-square-meter center will have the capacity for 1,400 people. He said the city is already in talks to host national meetings, but wouldn’t disclose which ones due to confidentiality concerns.

And when coronavirus restrictions on crowd sizes are lifted the convention center could become a draw for weddings.

For now, one new business in town, Pop-Up Wedding Destinations, hopes to lure back romance tourism on a smaller level.

The international wedding planning service was started in Portugal and provides couples with a basic wedding package including photographer, hairstylist and make-up artist, flowers and champagne.

The weddings are not legally binding, but they can be organized in less than a week and are suitable for up to 15 guests. San Miguel’s first such wedding is on the books for October.

In 2019, 830 couples were wed in the city, of whom 70% were foreign. This year 300 weddings have been canceled and another 300 postponed for 2021, de Anda reports.

Weddings were once again permitted in San Miguel de Allende on August 27, but must be performed outdoors and are limited to a total of 100 invitees and staff.

San Miguel currently has more than 2,500 rooms in 165 hotels with five international chains set to further increase capacity over the next two years. 

Tourism authorities are also working with a marketing firm to help convince international leisure tourists to return to the city’s picturesque cobblestone streets, with a particular focus on attracting visitors from California and Texas which are San Miguel’s largest markets.

Source: Forbes (sp)

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