Pueblos Magicos program loses federal funding

Budget cut called death knell for tourism program

Real de Catorce is among the “Magical Towns” affected by federal budget cuts. Photo: Courtesy

Mexico’s 121 Pueblos Magicos are being cut off financially by the federal government in 2019.

The Pueblos Magicos initiative has been led by Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism, or SECTUR, in conjunction with other federal and state agencies, since 2001.

SECTUR Minister Miguel Torruco Marqués confirmed at a press conference that the cut was part of the government’s financial reforms. He said that the federal government will encourage states and municipalities to invest in the program instead. SECTUR has spent 3.4 billion pesos in the last six years on the program.

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To be on the list indicates a “magical” experience for tourists. Locals also get training and guidance in keeping their towns tourist-friendly.

Developing Mexican tourism away from sun-and-fun locations, the program recognizes towns with historical significance, festivals, food and shopping.

In Yucatán, Izamal made the list in 2002, and Valladolid was selected in 2012. 

But most Pueblos Magicos are in central Mexico. Towns in and around Mexico City, Puebla, Jalisco, Michoacán, Querétaro, Veracruz, Zacatecas, Guanajuato and Hidalgo are most affected.

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PRI politician Rubén Moreira said that the decision by the Andrés Manuel López Obrador administration is a mortal blow for the magical towns.

“Cities like Real de Catorce, Comala, Viesca, Cuatro Ciénegas, Real del Monte and Dolores Hidalgo today will no longer be able to access a fund that was fundamental for national tourism,” he said.

“Not only is it a financial issue, but it practically destroys this concept, destroys local tourism destinations,” he added.

Ten localities were added to the program in April.

Source: Heraldo Mexico

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