As another option for tourism, members of the newly created Cooperative of Certified Guides of Yucatan will offer every Sunday bicycle tours from the Historic Center to the Monumento a la Patria.
“The tour includes stops at Hotel Mansión, El Jesús Church, Teatro Peón Contreras, Santa Ana, Palacio Cantón, among other emblematic buildings of the city”, said Francisco González Hernández, president of the new group, in which there are already 20 registered guides.
Interviewed during a bicycle tour with a group of reporters, González Hernández pointed out that the idea is to promote activities that conventional tourism does not regularly cover. “This is like biking and learning at the same time. The tourists exercise while they get to know certain important historic monuments and landmarks in the city “.
He added that not only is it a question of pedaling, but also of knowing what are the emblematic buildings such as “El Jesús” Church, which features some pre-Hispanic stones as part of its walls (because the church was built on top of a pre-Hispanic temple.
During the brief test tour -from the Mansión Mérida hotel to Santa Lucía-, González Hernández also offered some information about the Peón Contreras theater, and about the Santa Lucía church and park. The complete tour will also feature information about Santa Ana, the Twin Houses, the Canton Palace, the monuments of Paseo de Montejo and the Monument to the Fatherland that is unique in its kind in the whole country.
“The tours will start at 9 in the morning and will last between an hour and an hour and a half,” he said. The final point will be an invitation to breakfast or lunch in a restaurant, starting with the Mérida Mansion, where there is a “brunch” every Sunday.
The Tourist Guides’ leader said that the tours, as the case may be, would be conducted in Spanish, English, French, Italian or German.
González Hernández reported that, in addition to the bicycle tour, the cooperative will offer other products such as trips to the beaches of Chuburna or Sisal, to watch the flamingos. They also plan tours in Ek Balam and rural tourism so that visitors can see how the indigenous people of the Yucatan really live. Later, he said, tours will be offered in the archaeological zone of Chen Ho (Fraccionamiento del Parque) so that people can get to know other interesting sites the city.
The tours will be promoted on the group’s Facebook page, although they will also have support from the City of Mérida and federal and state tourism authorities.
About the creation of a new cooperative, González Hernández pointed out that the purpose is to have more protection and benefits.
“We have a credential from the Ministry of Tourism, we are officially registered tourist guides, but the Tourism Secretariat does not give us Social Security or benefits, and therefore we do not have a retirement pension. Some private companies hire us sometimes, they pay us for our work. but do not give us vacations or Social Security either,” said Gonzalez Hernandez.
He mentioned that every time a tourist guide dies, his widow and children are left unprotected. And that is not fair. He noted that there are approximately 400 official tourist guides and none of them have Social Security.
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