The Programa Pueblos Mágicos (Spanish
Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the tenth most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.
The Mexican Ministry or Secretariat of Tourism acknowledges that México´s magical experience is not only in the famous sun and beaches, it is much more than that. The success of Mexico is due in part to the great Mexican hospitality and culture, which keeps many tourists coming back.
The Government created the 'Pueblos Mágicos' program to recognize places across the country that imbue certain characteristics that make them unique, historically significant, with great traditions, and offer magical experiences to its visitors. A "Magical Village" is a place with symbolism, legends, history, important events, festivals, traditions, great food, and fun interactive shopping, day-to-day life – in other words, "magic" in its social and cultural manifestations, with great opportunities for tourism. Every Pueblo Magico offers a special experience to the visitor.
The programme was launched in 2001 and after 9 years and 32 towns selected, it was improved and relaunched in 2010 with significant resources to unlock the potentialand they were supported by a strategic campaign to promote them across the country. Every town was assigned a budget to continue improving its infrastructure, image, product offering and experience while making sure they were maintaining their traditions and their festivals were promoted. By 2012 a total of 83 towns and villages in all 31 states have been awarded the title or nomination of Pueblo Mágico. The program created pride, recognition for its local citizens and it was part of the diversification strategy from Secretary of Tourism to promote culture and Mexican traditions.
The program has offered opportunities to citizens to create a living from tourism, and it has made significant contributions to the economies of not only the pueblos, but also the entire regions, as visitors' spending created important jobs in the towns with the most economic needs. Towns with over 5 thousand citizens are receiving more than 20 thousand visitors during the weekends, which contributes to the economy and the well-being of its residents.
In late 2018 it was reported that the program would be canceled and would not continue for 2019 due to the lack of support of the president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). However, in February 2019 Humberto Hernandez, Under-secretary of Development and Tourist Regulation in the Ministry of Tourism, told a Mexican media outlet that the program would continue "more strongly than ever." Under the new strategy, while the tourism ministry will continue to handle qualification of prospective pueblos mágicos and promotion and branding of the program, it is expected that the state governors will handle allocation of government funds to projects in the towns.
The objectives of this program are:
Ecotourism is a form of tourism involving visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas, intended as a low-impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial mass tourism. It means responsible travel to natural areas, conserving the environment, and improving the well-being of the local people. Its purpose may be to educate the traveler, to provide funds for ecological conservation, to directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, or to foster respect for different cultures and for human rights. Since the 1980s, ecotourism has been considered a critical endeavor by environmentalists, so that future generations may experience destinations relatively untouched by human intervention. Several university programs use this description as the working definition of ecotourism.
In order to qualify for the program the towns should have a population of at least 5 thousand, and should be located no more than 300 km or the equivalent of traveling three hours by land from a city with a well-resourced market or good connectivity. In addition to the town's municipal and state authorities requesting incorporation to the Secretariat of Tourism so that they can make an assessment visit to evaluate the potential of the site, towns also had to meet specific requirements in order to be considered. The criteria included some of the following:
I. A formally constituted "Pueblo Mágico committee". This is a group of citizens who represent the pueblo or local community; if awarded the title, they were responsible for maintaining the declaration by working with the local citizens. Their job is to represent the residents of the town and their interests to make sure that the declaration will benefit all and by working together to maximise the opportunities. This group has to be diverse with no more than 15 people and their work is pro-bono. Group members should rotate periodically.
II. A town council accord which states an agreement to apply for admittance into the program. The local authorities have to support the inclusion in the program as their support is essential for the success of the town. This document provides formal support.
III. Agreement of the state congress; state support is needed to assign resources, mainly for infrastructure.
IV. Direct economic contribution towards touristic development in projects, action plans and programs. It is very important for each town to differentiate themselves from other towns. It should include the unique features of the town and why it should be considered.
V. An updated municipal touristic development program with a time frame of at least three years. A long term plan should be for 3 years to make sure the declaration is maintained, and the experience always improved. The program should be updated every three years.
VI. Updated rules and local regulations with a touristic focus during current administration of the Municipality. This is to support and protect visitors and people dedicated to tourism activities. Clear rules and regulations offer certainty and clarity to the importance of these activities.
VII. Evidence of symbolic attraction of the aspiring community, or what makes the town unique and differentiates it from other towns.
VIII. Health and public security services for tourists in case of an emergency.
IX. Private and social investment in touristic development and quality, including hotel rooms, restaurants, tours, museums, activities, etc.
X. Other elements that the committee considers relevant for touristic activity.
Mexico has more than 2500 municipalities; hundreds apply annually to this program with very few of them being selected. This is a very successful and prestigious program that provides benefits to local residents who benefit from the resulting economic activity bringing prosperity and various tangible and intangible benefits to their communities.
|1||Huasca de Ocampo||Hidalgo||2001|
|2||Real de Catorce||San Luis Potosí||2001|
|12||San Cristóbal de las Casas||Chiapas||2003|
|13||Real del Monte||Hidalgo||2004|
|14||Parras de la Fuente||Coahuila||2004|
|15||Valle de Bravo||México||2005|
|22||Real de Asientos||Aguascalientes||2006|
|25||Todos Santos||Baja California Sur||2006|
|27||Jerez de García Salinas||Zacatecas||2007|
|30||Capulálpam de Méndez||Oaxaca||2007|
|33||Santa Clara del Cobre||Michoacán||2010|
|34||Tepoztlán||Morelos||Declared in 2001, status revoked in 2009, but restored in 2010|
|37||Jalpan de Serra||Querétaro||2010|
|40||Teúl de González Ortega||Zacatecas||2011|
|42||Mineral del Chico||Hidalgo||2011|
|43||Cadereyta de Montes||Querétaro||2011|
|47||San Sebastián del Oeste||Jalisco||2011|
|48||Xilitla||San Luis Potosí||2011|
|49||Mineral de Pozos||Guanajuato||2012|
|52||Cuatrociénegas de Carranza||Coahuila||2012|
|53||Magdalena de Kino||Sonora||2012|
|55||Loreto||Baja California Sur||2012|
|58||Chiapa de Corzo||Chiapas||2012|
|64||Cholula (San Pedro y San Andrés)||Puebla||2012|
|66||Lagos de Moreno||Jalisco||2012|
|78||Jalpa de Cánovas||Guanajuato||2012|
|84||Aculco De Espinoza||México||2015|
|88||Coscomatepec de Bravo||Veracruz||2015|
|91||Huautla de Jimenez||Oaxaca||2015|
|92||Isla Mujeres||Quintana Roo||2015|
|93||Ixtapan de la Sal||México||2015|
|101||San José de Gracia||Aguascalientes||2015|
|102||San Pablo Villa de Mitla||Oaxaca||2015|
|103||San Pedro y San Pablo Teposcolula||Oaxaca||2015|
|105||Talpa de Allende||Jalisco||2015|
|110||Villa del Carbón||México||2015|
|111||Zozocolco de Hidalgo||Veracruz||2015|
|112||[]||Nombre de Dios||Durango||2018|
|118||[]||Amealco de Bonfil||Querétaro||2018|
|119||[]||Aquismón||San Luis Potosí||2018|
| 122 || [] || Apan,Hidalgo. 2018
Below is the list of sites that were enrolled in the program, but had their titles revoked for failure to meet standards during the re-evaluation or audit. Two of them had their status restored and one received enhanced recognition.
|#||Image||Town||State||Registration Year||Retirement Year|
|1||San Miguel de Allende||Guanajuato||2002||In 2008 its status on the list was removed due to its inclusion as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.|
|2||Tepoztlán||Morelos||2001||In 2009 its status was removed, and then restored in 2010.|
|3||Mexcaltitlán||Nayarit||2001||Status removed in 2009.|
|4||Papantla||Veracruz||2006||In 2009 its status was removed, and then restored in 2012.|
Some governments have tried to eliminate the program for political reasons but because this model is a citizen-based program focusing on empowering communities, these efforts have been unsuccessful. According to statistics from INEGI, the Pueblo Mágico program has provided great economic value, and created jobs for its participating communities. The program has been recognised by several countries around the world, as a role model domestically and internationally.
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