World Cultural Tourism Fair scores a hit in Morelia
Tuesday, 02 October 2012
Story and images by Bob Schulman
The central Mexico city of Morelia may be best known north of the border for movie scenes showing the rag-tag brigades of Pancho Villa charging the federale fortress there to the machine-gun-like drumming of Villa’s battle song, La Diana Ranchera.
Last week (Sept. 27-28) the drums were beating again for outsiders, but this time the noise was to welcome Mexican President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, Secretary of Tourism Gloria Guevara Manzo, 15 state governors and other top executives along with some 350 delegates to the Third Annual World Tourism Fair of Morelia.
In his remarks, President Calderon noted the government has stepped up its promotion of cultural tourism by introducing major new attractions such as 18 “gastronomic routes,” the opening of many new museums and archaeological sites, and ongoing additions of pueblos magicos (magic cities).
Four more archaeological areas are planned to open over the next few months at Lagartero and San Miguelito, both in the state of Quintana Roo, and at Iglesia Vieja in Chiapas and El Panu in Hidalgo.
Secretary Guevara reported that 57 Mexican cities have so far qualified as pueblos magicos including a good number of off-the-beaten-track storybook towns offering visitors a trip back in time to colonial Mexico.
She noted that the program’s popularity in boosting travel to Mexico has prompted five other countries – El Salvador, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Chile – to develop similar programs.
According to Consuelo Saizar Guerrero, president of Mexico’s National Council for Culture (Conaculta), this year’s Cultural Tourism Fair highlighted over 60 cultural activities including the participation of both domestic and international artists from such countries as Thailand, Indonesia, Ukraine and Ecuador.
The World Cultural Fair is organized by the Ministry of Tourism, Conaculta and the government of Morelia’s state of Michoacan.
Participating in this year’s event were some 150 exhibitors (representing resort and historic areas, individual hotels, airlines, ground operators and the like) and 200 “buyers” (travel wholesalers, tour operators and other sellers of cultural travel).
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