Ajijic was axed from the running while Tlaquepaque stood out as Jalisco’s star among the ten places designated as new Pueblo Mágico destinations.
The winners of the coveted appellation were announced by Mexico’s Tourism Minister Enrique de la Madrid at the October 11 opening of the fifth annual Feria Nacional de Pueblos Mágicos, held last weekend in Morelia, Michoacan.
In addition to Tlaquepaque, successful bids were registered by Amealco, Querétaro; Aquismón, San Luis Potosí; Bustamante, Nuevo León; Comonfort, Guanajuato; Compostela, Nayarit; Guadalupe, Zacatecas; Melchor Múzquiz, Coahuila; Nombre de Dios, Durango; and Zimapán, Hidalgo. With the newcomers, the full roster now stands at a total count of 121 localities spread across the nation.
Ajijic was among 88 contenders under consideration for Magic Town status this year.
Other Jalisco candidates that failed to make the grade were Jamay, San Gabriel, Guachinango, San Miguel el Alto and San Juan de los Lagos.
Tlaquepaque is already a well-established tourist hub, noted for its stately colonial architecture, attractive pedestrian zones lined with upscale restaurants and shops offering quality crafts, fine art, textiles and fashion apparel, and lively cultural activities. Known as la cuna de la alfarería (cradle of potters) it has a long history as home to master ceramic artisans.
The Pueblo Mágico designation corresponds only to the 42 city blocks that make up the historic center, tucked away from less attractive neighborhoods of the sprawling municipality.
Jalisco boasts seven other towns previously chosen for the program: Tapalpa, Mazamitla, San Sebastián del Oeste, Mascota, Talpa de Allende, Tequila, and Lagos de Moreno.
The Pueblo Mágico concept was created in 2001 as a means of diversifying the country’s tourism market through the promotion of places situated off the beaten path with the potential to enchant visitors with their natural attributes, historical relevance, cultural richness, traditions, folklore, cuisine, typical crafts and hospitality.
Member towns benefit from the injection of state and federal funding assigned to improve infrastructure, restore historical patrimony, solidify innate identity and promote the tourist industry.