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New director hopes to attract more tourism

By Antonio De Jesús Aguado

“The Jardín will be the venue for extraordinary events, and for that reason, among other events the Fair of Wool and Brass will not be held there this year,” said María José Garrido Eraña, head of the Dirección de Turismo, Desarrollo Económico y Relaciones Internacionales (Tourism, Economic Development and International Affairs Department).

Garrido studied marketing at the Tecnológico de Monterrey, specializing in finance. She worked for Telemundo International, developing soap operas for social networks. Garrido also worked in Belgium for a company that organizes events for nonprofit organizations. In the US she was part of a digital marketing company, where she managed client accounts such as Sony, Visa and HP. The new administration became interested in her owing to her experience.

On October 10, when his administration started, Mayor Mauricio Trejo said that María José is a brilliant and capable woman who would head the Economic Development Department and would help make San Miguel internationally known. He also commented that Garrido Eraña would present to the world what San Miguel is and its investment opportunities. On that matter, Garrido commented, “I am interested in viewing San Miguel as a project and not trying to sell it but to promote it internationally. We want to create strategic twinning, international fairs and festivals so that tourists can come and generate the needed income flow.” Currently, sisterhood agreements are in the process of being finalized between San Miguel and Napa, California; Mendoza, Argentina and Monticello, Italy.

According to Garrido, developers, artisans and tour operators have come to her office to inform her that they are not receiving enough tourists for the products they are creating. For that reason, she said, “I have to take care of that and bring them the needed tourists to use the services they generate. I am going to promote San Miguel at specific events; for example, now that we have an aerodrome in better condition, we will promote San Miguel in Texas, where there are people with their own jets, and we will invite them to come to the city.” She also commented that all the municipal departments and some associations in the city are developing strategies for bringing in more tourists. Garrido said that all the new or established festivals with an international attraction will be supported by her department.

Wool and Brass Fair

From 2009 to 2011 the Feria de la Lana y el Latón was held around the perimeter of the Jardín. This year, Garrido commented that “in order to broaden the tourists’ scope and let them see that in the city there is more than just the Jardín, the Fair will be relocated again to the Plaza Cívica, and the ordinary events at the Jardín will also be relocated to alternative venues. Because tourists already go to the Jardín, we need to show them other spaces for generating transit and investment in other areas.”

To entice tourists to the Plaza Cívica, a touristic-commercial corridor will be created, with signs leading visitors to the arts and crafts produced by local artisans, through the Plaza Cívica and on to the Mercado Ignacio Ramírez. “It will be something different. We are full of new ideas, and the citizens are motivated,” said Garrido. The goal for the next three years is to restore the world’s image of the city and generate investments.

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