Mérida and Progreso combine efforts to lure more tourists

The mayors of Mérida and Progreso agree to promote each other's hotels and tourist offerings. Photo: Ayuntamiento
The mayors of Mérida and Progreso agree to promote each other’s hotels and tourist offerings. Photo: Ayuntamiento

Come to Mérida for its beaches.

To stay on the radar of sun-and-sand vacationers, that’s how the landlocked city positions itself in domestic tourism campaigns. Yucatán’s 400 kilometers of beaches begin just 30 minutes away, in Progreso.

That connection to the beach got stronger last week when the mayor of Mérida, Mauricio Vila Dosal, met with Progreso Mayor José Cortés Góngora to sign a collaboration agreement to promote local tourism between both municipalities.

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A month ago, a similar accord was reached between Mérida and its colonial cousin, Valladolid.

With the signing of the agreement, which took place in the port city’s Municipal Palace, Meridanos traveling to the neighboring port and Porteños who come to Mérida will receive discounts of 10 to 20 percent at participating hotels.

In addition, each municipality will promote the attractions of the other to international and domestic tourists.

Progreso has 30 hotels with a combined 500 rooms for visitors. Mérida will have 10,065 rooms spread out among 249 hotels by the end of the year. In addition, 29 hotels are either under construction, expanding, or have plans filed with the city.

After the signing ceremony, the mayors exchanged packages of brochures that promote their respective municipalities.

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In the first half of the year, Mérida received 687,032 tourists, which represents an increase of 14.7 percent compared to the previous year. Parallel numbers in Progreso were not provided.

Mérida’s high season is Progreso’s low season, and officials hope that coordinating tourism efforts will help level out the tourist economy for both.

A local media outlet, Progreso Hoy, was cynical in its coverage of the agreement, which was signed “despite the fact that the current City Council has not been able to guarantee quality services — or the most basic ones — for Progreso and its inhabitants…”

City Hall has done nothing significant on its own to support the tourist industry, said a writer, and has allowed infrastructure to decline to the detriment of both residents and visitors.

For at least a year, Progreso has piled up unpaid electric bills, and has struggled to keep tap water flowing because power has been cut off from its pumping station.

With information AyuntaMérida

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