The Municipality of Mérida, through the Department of Economic Development and Tourism, has requested the designation of “Magic Neighborhoods” for eight areas in the city’s historic center. The goal is to highlight their identity and attract tourism through their cultural and gastronomic attributes.
The head of the municipal department, José Luis Martínez Semerena, stated that the neighborhoods of La Ermita, Santiago, San Sebastián, Mejorada, Santa Ana, San Juan, Santa Lucía, and San Cristóbal will seek this federal distinction.
According to the Secretary of Tourism, Miguel Torruco Marqués, a Magic Neighborhood represents a space where different elements come together, making it unique and irreplaceable: history, culture, gastronomy, products, services, and the interaction between the local population and visitors.
This distinction is similar to the Magic Towns program, which has generated significant economic growth and tourism promotion in the designated localities.
However, this same effect has also led to gentrification in the areas where the designation has been granted, according to Jafet Quintero Venegas, an academic from the Institute of Social Research (IIS) at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
Quintero Venegas explained that this phenomenon is called “decampesinization” and refers to the abandonment of agricultural activities, typically associated with migratory processes, as the local population can engage in other economic activities such as offering services and products for tourism.
However, this increase in opportunities is also accompanied by a rise in the cost of living for the locals. The arrival of affluent customers leads to an increase in housing costs, services, and basic necessities.
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