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Pueblo Magico: An instrument of development

By Esparta Palma

Panoramic San Miguel de Allende. Photo Credit: Esparta Palma

There is no doubt that Mexico is full of history, natural beauties and amazing historical architecture. Pueblos Magicos is a Mexican program that highlights the extraordinary qualities of some of Mexico’s most magnificent locations, and each of them comes along with significant tourism investment.

In an interview for The Circular with Ricardo Campos, a consultant for the Mexican government who holds a Master Degree in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a degree in Architectural and Civil Engineer from the Monterrey Institute of Technology, explain that the program is a label that the Federal Government give to some towns in order to improve tourism and commerce in does cities.

Taxco, Pueblo Magico. Photo Credit: Laurent Espitallier

This project has been active since 2001. It is developed by the Ministry of Tourism and currently has given this recognition to 111 towns. Mr Campos said that the program is now within a transition period because they expect to ensure quality over quantity.

There are many benefits for the town who obtains this label. “The benefits are complicated to measure; there are some successful cases such as San Miguel de Allende, that was recognised by UNESCO as part of the World Cultural Heritage. On the other hand, there are some places that not only have not been successful but is questionable the reasons for being part of the program and how the fundings received are being used”. The political influence in this program is something that has been criticised by many.

Seller in San Miguel de Allende. Photo Credit: Eneas de Troya

The 111 magic town currently listed are visual jewels that can bring economic benefits to the local people. “Vulnerable communities sometimes are sometimes seen as part of the culture, but this is an issue of poverty. The municipalities that are entitled Pueblo Magico sometimes do not have the planning capacities to think for them.”

One of Ricardo’s recommendation to the program is that the Mexican Federal Government needs to make sure that towns that are applying have enough planning capacities with economic and social development offices. And the final recommendation is that it is important to establish a system of “follow-ups” within the process of implementing the project in order to become successful Pueblo Magico.

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