Oaxaca has it all. It is the cradle of one of the most recognized parties in the entire Mexican State: the Guelaguetza. During this holiday, which is celebrated during the last two weeks of July, the city of Oaxaca de Juárez is filled with color with the typical costumes of the eight regions of the State. Oaxaca, in addition, is one of the main Mexican states in terms of gastronomy, because of its incredible variety of ingredients and the combination that its chefs make of tradition and modernity. Oaxaca is also the cradle of the drink with more pull of all Mexico, the Mezcal, and through its route the ‘Paths of the Mezcal’, the visitor can discover the artisanal process that has given him worldwide fame. As if that were not enough, Oaxaca can also boast of having three tourist attractions declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity by Unesco: the Historic Center, the archaeological zone of Monte Albán and the prehistoric caves of Yagul and Mitla. And to put a final touch, Oaxaca can also boast beaches, specifically about 36, distributed in 9 bays of crystal clear waters. On the route of the Oaxacan Coast, visitors can also enjoy postcard beaches such as Puerto Angel or Puerto Escondido, where Zicatela stands out, recognized by experts as the third place in the world for surfing. In the context of the World Travel Market in London, we speak with Abdón Vázquez, deputy secretary of Tourism Development and Promotion of Oaxaca.
To start, tell us about the most famous party in Oaxaca: La Guelaguetza.
The celebration is organized by eight regions of the state of Oaxaca: Cañada, Costa, Istmo, Mixteca, Papaloapan Basin Region, Sierra Sur, Sierra Norte, and the Central Valleys. Each region participates by presenting the most representative of its culture, heritage, and traditions, such as traditional costumes, dance, and music. It is a very large color party that for us remains the icon of the parties. Guelaguetza means offering, so on those dates, those eight towns come to offer and deliver the best of them. It is celebrated the last two Mondays of July, it also has the name Monday of Cerro and, therefore, the hotels are prepared in those 15 days to receive a lot of tourism. Then there is a series of festivities between Monday and Monday that make tourism stay longer. Then comes the month of August, which are holiday seasons, and then we give continuity to those days.
And how is the influx of hotels at that time?
In Oaxaca, there are about 324 hotels, and at that time all the rooms are occupied. We are talking about Friday, Saturday, Sunday and practically Monday. It is usually national tourism over 80% and 20% international. Fortunately, Oaxaca is becoming fashionable and international tourism is growing.
Since we are in the World Travel Market, what place does the British occupy as a visitor to Oaxaca?
Our international tourists come mainly from the US and Canada. The tourists from Spain and Colombia are also growing a lot in number. London ranks third at the level of Mexico and is the European tourism that we are most interested in capturing.
Mexican cuisine is a world heritage site, how important is the gastronomy of Oaxaca in particular?
We can tell you that our cuisine is among the top three. As an internationally recognized chef, Oaxaca has the best. There is a fair called the Cravings Fair, which is included during the Guelaguetza festivities. Right now we just had a very important gastronomic event called Oaxaca Flavors. In the last party of Oaxaca Flavors, the world record of labeled mezcals was broken, with a total of 369 bottles. We could say that Oaxacan cuisine It is more exquisite, more gourmet, but at the same time, we also have that homemade, artisanal part, like the one presented at the Traditional Cooks event. It is called that way because family recipes go down the feminine part of the family, from the grandmother to the mother and the daughter. We can make the organic fashionable, they were born and live with the organic and the chefs are adopting it by their hand and they also transform it to be more competitive. There are many chefs who were born in Oaxaca, who grew up with traditional Oaxaca cuisine and have gone abroad with experiences with other chefs. Now they apply that new cuisine to the traditional of Oaxaca and there are chefs of international stature that go to Oaxaca, to the markets, to know the variants of the Mexican ingredients. Oaxaca’s cuisine is 90% pre-Hispanic.
One of the tourist attractions of Oaxaca, in addition to gastronomy or prehistoric caves and archaeological sites, is the route of the Paths of Mezcal. Tell us a little more about this tourist claim.
We have a route for 50 years. The visitor can discover the Tule Tree in Santa María del Tule, which has the most circumference in the world. After that, you can go to San Jerónimo Tlacochahuaya, visit San Pablo Villa de Mitla and Santiago Matatlán, which is considered the capital of mezcal . The interesting thing about mezcal is that the tourist can live the experience of going to the countryside to cut it out and can see the elaboration process. In Oaxaca, mezcal is called the drink of the gods.
And they also have Huatulco, a destination that has 36 beaches distributed in 9 bays with crystal clear waters.
I would like to point out that in Huatulco we are conscientious to tourists. The beaches are very clean and the national reserve occupies 70%. Yes, there are nine bays in Huatulco with an extension of 35 km and each bay has different characteristics. We receive 5 million tourists and Huatulco receives 11%. In money, 41% of the economic spill is Huatulco, and that means that people look for places to stay but in a sustainable way. This is the reason to protect Huatulco because at the ecological level it has a lot of wealth. To the beaches of Oaxaca In one night, 40,000 turtles can lay eggs and that is one more reason to take care of the beach.
The Oaxaca International Airport (OAX) is connected to Europe through Aeromexico flights from London , Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, and Amsterdam, via Mexico City or direct flights from Merida Yucatan
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