EME Media chosen as new San Miguel’s tourism PR agency

Mauricio Castro Vera

By Antonio de Jesús Aguado

In 2009, the Tourism Council hired the company GPW to increase tourism in San Miguel de Allende. This year, the current Tourism Council (with eight votes) decided to change agencies and selected EME Media, represented by Michelle Fridman. GPW announced they will contest the decision.

GPW and its contract

Marcelo Castro Vera, current president of the Hotel Real de Minas, was a member of the Tourism Council in 2009, representing the Association of Hotels. He said that in that year about 30 percent of national tourists coming to San Miguel were from Mexico City and the state of Mexico, and for that reason they hired GPW to attract tour organizers to the municipality so that local tourism enterprises would get contracts.

GPW’s public relations efforts are mainly focused on venues, lodging and events in Mexico City. The company had an annual contract with the Tourism Council from 2009 to 2011, for about 60,000 pesos a month. GPW is represented by Alejandro Watson, who told Atención that “for the 2012 contract they told us that they would seek bids to obtain the best offering. We are looking to contest the decision because we believe that what they told us never happened—it was a direct designation.”

Arturo Morales, tour-operator, commented that through the GPW organized familiarization tours in San Miguel de Allende with the tour organizers, his company earned some contracts and sales of his products, with the benefits remains continuing.

Tourism Council backs up its choice

Carla Yoffe, manager of the Tourism Council, said that publicity is paid for through the financial resource Fondos Mixtos, which is made up of local, state, federal and privately sourced funds. For that reason, a public bidding process was required. Yoffe also noted that “GPW used to bring interested groups to San Miguel. EME Media will do the same thing, but the difference is that the enterprise will give us free consulting in order to buy the best media for promoting this destination at the best price. They will put us in contact with tour operators, travel agencies and all the tourism associations interested in coming to San Miguel de Allende—not just in DF, but also nationally and internationally.” The manager said that five proposals were submitted, among them bids from GPW and EME Media. She made it clear that “we did not fire anyone. The contracts are annual and the Tourism Council has grown and has larger needs, and the selected agency covers those needs.”

Beatriz Súcar, who represents wedding planners on the Tourism Council, said, “We did not receive pressure from the winning agency to make our decision. We selected the one that we believe can bring more tourism to San Miguel. Everything was legal.”

Contested decision

City councilor Alonso Tomassini said that the committee that oversees acquisitions and purchases received a document from the Tourism Council in which the group requested support for the change of public relations agencies, so they supported the decision because the tourism council made the selection. Tomassini said that “there are some circumstances that could encourage the other companies to contest the public bidding. We should check the decision once again because the winning company arrived late to the proposal meeting, and there are some irregular documents. I will personally propose rechecking the proceedings and, if necessary, it could be cancelled.” Yoffe, however, said that the company that arrived late to the public proposal meeting was GPW, not EME Media.

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