Mérida is losing tourism dollars over confusion as to what “Yucatán” is, says a city official.

When potential tourists hear “Yucatán,” do they think of the Paseo de Montejo, Mérida’s Cathedral and Celestún’s pink flamingos? Or are they thinking more of the Caribbean coast, with Tulum and Playa del Carmen?

The question isn’t just an academic one. Because the city’s tourist officials suspect that state tourism campaigns to bring foreign travelers to Mérida are actually delivering them to other parts of the peninsula.

Supported by market studies and her experience in tourism, the director of Tourism and Economic Development of the city of Mérida, Carolina Cárdenas Sosa, wants to end the confusion.

A previous Federal Ministry of Tourism market study found that 100 percent of foreigners surveyed identify “Yucatán” as the entire Peninsula — including all three states, Quintana Roo, Campeche and Yucatán.

When they go to Cancun or the Riviera Maya they are convinced that they are in Yucatán.

Travel posters that don’t identify the scenery don’t do justice to places like Izamal and the Paseo de Montejo.

The “Ven por Todo” campaign lacks labels to identify its photos. It’s a missed opportunity to help travelers identify romantic or naturalistic spots that attracted them to begin with, she said.

Domestic tourists have a better understanding of the Peninsula, but Carolina Cardenas suggests that the overseas promotion campaign must “have a first and last name.”

“The Yucatan promotion campaign should promote the brands of Mérida, Izamal, Valladolid or the ports of Progreso or Celestún,” she said. “When there is something of Mérida, it must be Merida, Yucatán; Thus, Valladolid, Yucatán; Izamal, Yucatán, so that the international tourist knows what place he will visit.”

The city of Mérida has its own tourism department, but that doesn’t mean the state can’t promote its own capital as well, she said.

“We must forget the political issues and promote Mérida within the official campaign because it is not done now,” she said.

Source: Diario de Yucatán