San Miguel voted top tourist spot in Mexico
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
Readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine have selected San Miguel de Allende as the top location to visit in Mexico. Now, it is the job of the Tourism Council and of those who offer tourism services to demonstrate to visitors that San Miguel is also the top city in terms of quality of services.
Condé Nast Traveler is one of the most prestigious tourism magazines in the world. Through the zoom lenses of photographers and words of journalists and writers, it explores many different tourist destinations. According to Carla Yofe, manager of the Tourism Council, the magazine has more than 240,000 subscribers around the world who voted San Miguel the number one destination to visit in Mexico. According to Yofe, those who voted are tourists who have been here and know the city.
The characteristics evaluated were ambience, friendliness, lodging, restaurants, culture/sightseeing and shopping. San Miguel won out over Los Cabos, in second place, and Puebla, Cancún and Mérida, in third through fifth places. Yofe commented that the average cost per page to advertise in this magazine is US$70,000. “It is important to advertise the destinations at least three times yearly, US$210,000, which is our total budget for media at the Tourism Council; we cannot afford to advertise in this magazine,” she said. She also said that they never have had to advertise in the magazine and for that reason the result is very believable and very valuable.
Yofe said that they knew the results a few months ago, but the company asked them to keep the information quiet. Now they will inform all those who offer tourism services, who along with sanmiguelenses will have the responsibility of improving the image of the city and the quality of services provided. She said that the current administration is working to improve security and promote tourism.
The world in San Miguel
In August, Yofe and Erick Cházaro, then acting president of the Tourism Council, attended Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas. At the event representatives from prestigious travel agencies gather to meet with representatives of tourism destinations and properties (hotels and tour operators) who present their products.
San Miguel de Allende, represented by Yofe and Cházaro, was the only Mexican colonial city with a presence at the event; the others were beach destinations. At Virtuoso the two had direct contact with travel agents from around the world. Yofe and Cházaro talked with 328 travel agents, presenting the virtues and attractions of the city.
Later, at a meeting with personnel from the CPTM (Mexican Council of Touristic Promotion), it was announced that San Miguel has been selected for a visit by the travel agents, thanks to Yofe and Cházaro’s good presentation. Ten agents will visit San Miguel from November 1 to 5 and will be trained to be experts on San Miguel. The agents will experience the art, culture, gastronomy and architecture of the city. They will visit Cañada de la Virgen, make alfeñiques, and participate in the Catrinas Parade organized by Rancho los Labradores. The results of their efforts, an increase in tourism, should be seen next year.