2017 will be a record year for tourism, says official

Lots of good publicity paid off for Mérida in 2017. Photo: file
Lots of good publicity paid off for Mérida in 2017. Photo: file

Mérida, Yucatán — The municipal tourism department is calling 2017 of the city’s best year ever.

The year is expected to come to a close with 1.4 million visitors, an increase of 16 percent.

That makes 2017 “the best we have had in tourism,” said Carolina Cárdenas Sosa, the head of the city’s tourism agency.

In 2016, tourism officials at the state level declared a watershed year, buoyed by a favorable exchange rate and an elaborate advertising campaign.

The city, which has its own tourism operation, started to see a healthy uptick in visitors in 2015.

Then in 2016, Mérida was honored with the international title American Capital of Culture, setting the stage for a robust 2017.

And that same year, Lonely Planet named Yucatán’s capital city Mérida one of the four best cities in the world to visit.

Lonely Planet took note of Mérida’s Capital of Culture designation, “meaning visitors can expect a ginormous cultural extravaganza as organizers stage a series of large-scale events throughout 2017.”

Perhaps even more helpful, Vogue, Travel & Leisure and several prominent newspapers have been steadily publishing enticing articles about Mérida and Yucatán for years. The Times in London just this past weekend featured Mérida in an upbeat travel piece.

The mayor has banged the drum for Mérida as well, traveling to Miami, Puebla, Querétaro, Mexico City to promote the capital of Yucatán as a tourist destination. In addition, there is an intense digital marketing campaign, “Mérida Ciudad Blanca,” which has shown good results.

The majority of tourism — 80 percent — comes from within Mexico.

With information from Diario de Yucatán