Travel agents give thumbs up to San Miguel
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
Travel agents from Virtuoso, one of the largest travel agencies in the world, recently visited San Miguel. They commented that now their task will be to convince Americans that San Miguel offers art, culture, friendliness, hospitality and is also a destination that is growing and has a lot to offer.
San Miguel at Virtuoso Travel Week
In August, Karla Yofe, manager of the Tourism Council, and Erick Cházaro, acting director of the Council, attended the Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas, an event where travel agents from around the world, who work in branches of Virtuoso, listen to proposals from representatives of tourist destinations. San Miguel de Allende was the only Mexican colonial city represented at this event; representatives of all other Mexican cities were from beach destinations. According to Yofe, the travel agents were impressed with San Miguel and for that reason they chose this Mexican city for a familiarization trip in order to become “experts” on San Miguel de Allende. From October 29 to November 2, 10 agents visited the city and experienced its art, culture, gastronomy, traditions, hospitality and the security that San Miguel has to offer the world.
Agents’ thoughts about San Miguel
Mimi Molegan came to San Miguel 30 years ago. “I did not recognize it—it was so small then. Now it is bigger, but very clean and artistic. It is incredible. I loved it. I can’t wait to go to the United States and encourage people to come here,” she commented. She said that the possibilities for San Miguel to receive increased tourism are extremely high, but people need to know that it is a secure city and they also need to know that they can come to San Miguel instead of Spain and experience the same wonderful feelings. About the insecurity issues in the country, she said, “People that are sophisticated travelers hear the word ‘Mexico’ and they think about danger; they have no idea of the logistics, but it is also dangerous in California and Los Angeles. They put ‘Mexico’ and ‘danger’ hand in hand, and this is not the case in San Miguel. We need to educate them about the destination, and I am going to help people to learn about how safe Mexico is.” Molegan operates in California and commented that her clients always select beach destinations but “now people need to understand the beauty of colonial Mexico and the art here. I have two clients that are here especially for La Calaca.” Finally, she said, “I love México, mi corazón está aquí.”
Christine Hanlon said that “San Miguel is a great city; it has so much to offer. My clients have come here for years and speak very highly of it, so it was my time to come. I always wanted to come here.” The agent also commented that in San Miguel there are always things going on, which creates an environment of entertainment. She said that her clients love playing golf and shopping and San Miguel has golf courses and lots of stores for shopping. Hanlon said that in Guanajuato there is no insecurity, and for that reason, “I will be able to sell San Miguel for its artistic environment, cuisine, accommodations ranging from modest to very nice. I just think it is a great destination to sell for those who have been going to the beaches and want something more. Sanmiguelenses are very hospitable and tolerant and welcoming to the Americans, and we feel very safe. We have been treated like travel agents, but the normal traveler will feel the same.”
Pat Kurzweg said that San Miguel is “stunning and beautiful.” She said she always wanted to come to San Miguel de Allende, and finally did it. Kurcweg said that San Miguel is a great destination for a honeymoon because of its romantic qualities.
San Miguel “is very friendly, beautiful, vibrant and continuing to grow, with lots of construction of beautiful hotels, villas, shops, and many things to do for people coming here,” said Lynn Adams. She also commented that there are many people who think that everything here is all about shopping and art, but “what I learned with the pyramids is that there are opportunities for people that want to experience adventure and the food, wine and culture. There is art, music, golf. It has a lot to offer. The weather is perfect, with lots of sunshine and no humidity. There are friendly people and low prices. It is a great destination.” About the problems of insecurity in the city she said “whatever is negative in the world is reported as news, but now my responsibility is to go back and explain to people that I have been here and it is a safe place. People are missing a great opportunity if they do not come here.”