With 570 municipalities and an infinity of tourist attractions, the Government of Oaxaca joined the various actors of the industry to detonate this economic activity under a vision of growth, social development, and sustainability
Tourism in Oaxaca has been a fundamental part of the state’s economy for decades.
Although in recent years, this activity has gained strength thanks to the initiative of the State Government and joint efforts, which have generated outstanding results.
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In 2019, the economic spillover generated by tourism totaled 18,529 million pesos, 23.89% more than in 2018, and 51.26% more than in 2016. It is inevitable that this positive trend is not accompanied by obstacles that are difficult to overcome. Today, the challenge is to find a balance between growing and preserving the environment.
Another current challenge has to do with the impact generated by the Covid-19 contingency in the industry. “Tourism has been hit hard, and millions of jobs are at risk in one of the most labor-intensive sectors of the economy,” said Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization recently. (OMT).
According to estimates by the agency, this situation could lead to an annual decline of between 60 and 80% compared to the 2019 figures. With this in mind, the Ministry of Economy and BanOaxaca launched the Emerging Plan established by the State Government With which 175 companies have benefited through loans with a total amount of 11.68 million pesos and about 437 companies have been supported with an amount of 3.2 million pesos for the preservation of jobs.
One of the decisions that will have the greatest impact on tourism in the coming years is the communications infrastructure. The completion of the Oaxaca-Costa and Oaxaca-Istmo highways will radically reduce travel times. La de la Costa – as they say informally – will make getting from Oaxaca City to Puerto Escondido only two and a half hours instead of six, and the trip to Huatulco will be three hours instead of seven.
The second highway will facilitate connectivity between the city of Oaxaca and the Interoceanic Multimodal Corridor. With 3,000 million pesos for its conclusion, it is intended that this work promotes industrial, commercial, and, of course, tourism development.
These new land connections will be an essential part to further promote some of the famous Tourist Routes of Oaxaca. Visitors can enjoy the various activities offered throughout the state through 10 different tours.
Among them is the Route of the Oaxacan Coast that stands out for its two climates: the mountainous and the coastal.
In it, the golden sand beaches and the abundant vegetation are combined, which has been an ideal setting for ecotourism projects. One of the most famous routes and close to the city of Oaxaca is the Ruta Caminos del Mezcal, which offers a total immersion into the universe of this ancestral drink, whose production in the state is about 6.4 million liters per year.
In a state where 80% of the territory is communal, resolutions are passed in the same way. Decisions on the use of resources, whether tourist, agricultural, or infrastructure, are submitted to local assemblies.
For some, these processes could be seen as causing slow growth. However, they ensure a development that protects resources and prevents indiscriminate exploitation. In addition, state initiatives always bear in mind the indigenous identity and the care of nature over any other interest.
This way of organizing is also visible in the tourist offer thanks to the Joint Villages. In 1993, eight Zapotec communities of the Sierra Norte de Oaxaca decided to unite their territory and efforts to undertake an ecotourism project in their territory today known as Expeditions Sierra Norte.
In short, they designed a strategy that allows all tourist activity in the area to be under community control, from operation to marketing. Its offer aims to develop a responsible tourism activity that allows visitors to connect with nature and the culture of communities with awareness.
This type of community demonstrations reinforce an ancient identity through a simple principle: “Oaxaca is so beautiful that it must belong to everyone.” Little by little, this magnificent state is finding the perfect balance point in the face of adversity and new times.
- 2019 has been the best year for tourist activity in Oaxaca
- 14.45% increased the arrival of tourists to Oaxaca, Huatulco, and Puerto Escondido
- 18.10% increased hotel occupancy vs. 2018
- 50.85% registered hotel occupancy in the city of Oaxaca
- 5.36 million tourists received
- 95% of tourists are nationals
- 56% increased the number of seats available on airplanes
- 4 airports: 3 international (Oaxaca, Huatulco, and Puerto Escondido) and 1 civil (Ciudad Ixtepec)
- 8,529 million pesos was the economic spill in Oaxaca in 2019, 23.89% more than in 2018
Sources: Oaxaca Tourism Secretariat, DATATUR.
Congresses, conventions, meetings, weddings, and other social events find the perfect option in Oaxaca:
- No. 7 of the 10 best destinations for meeting tourism nationwide
- No. 377 in the world ranking for business tourism
- Among the 5 best destinations for romance tourism nationwide
- 1 million attendees is the influx of the Centro Cultural y de Convenciones de Oaxaca (CCCO)
- 100 local and national events were held at the CCCO in 2019
Capulálpam de Méndez
First Oaxacan Magic Town Distinguished with this title in 2008, this jewel nestled in the Sierra Norte has an enchanting spirit. Its symmetrically aligned houses, with adobe walls and tile roofs, as well as its cobbled streets, combine with its first-class hospitality and gastronomy.
San Pedro and San Pablo Teposcolula
Heart of the Mixteca. The pre-Hispanic legacy is visible in the stone walls that inhabit this town. In addition to the temple and cloister of San Pedro y San Pablo having the largest open chapel in America, it manages to demonstrate the beauty of indigenous Tequitqui art and the Churrigueresque Baroque style.
Crystal clear waters and biodiversity. Famous for its beautiful and quiet beaches, Mazunte offers more than a privileged location and magnificent sunsets. It is the headquarters of essential projects for the preservation and protection of the turtle and the biodiversity that characterizes this territory.
San Pablo Villa de Mitla
Living history. Here you will find the perfect mix between the Zapotec past and the Franciscan beauty. This can be admired in buildings such as El Calvario, its temple erected in the heart of its archaeological zone. You can also travel back in time in its prehistoric caves, declared in 2011 as a World Heritage Site.
Huautla de Jiménez
Shamanic soul. The air of Huautla de Jiménez has a mystical essence that is difficult to ignore. The spiritual heritage of María Sabina, priestess of mushrooms and healer, is perceived in the practice of traditional medicine of the families that preserve her legacy. You can also explore its cave system, the deepest in America.
With about 150 thousand attendees, 23 participating delegations, and more than 80 editions, the Guelaguetza is the most important celebration of Oaxacans. In this celebration, the cultural expressions of the eight regions of the state are concentrated through dances, music, typical costumes, and gifts for those attending. That’s what Guelaguetza is all about: giving and sharing.
Mazunte Jazz Festival
With a natural backdrop consisting of calm waters and golden sand, this event brings together internationally renowned jazz players in one place. The third weekend of November is dedicated to enjoying music, excellent gastronomy, and a great diversity of cultures.
Noche de rábanos
Every December 23, the zocalo of the city of Oaxaca exhibits peculiar scenes made by market gardeners and flower growers made with radish, immortal flower, and totomoxtle. This unique festival is accompanied by concerts, folkloric performances, conservatories, and workshops.
All year round
The calendas flood the streets with color, laughter, music, and parties. Chinese Oaxacan women parade with their typical dress and a basket with flower arrangements on their heads to the rhythm of the drum and the band’s shawm. Children, women, and men invite the curious to participate in a walk guarded by the famous calenda monkeys that do not stop dancing.
Parties and festivals
The cultural offer that Oaxaca has seems endless. In every corner of the state, you can find a spark of folklore that invites unique multisensory experiences. The most important celebration, the Oaxacan festival, is the Guelaguetza.
Every year in the month of July, the Cerro Mondays Party is held, where delegations from the eight regions of the state participate, showing their culture and tradition through dances, songs, and gifts to the attendees.
This year it was lived online through webinars, panels, and diverse content, with an organic reach of 762,537 people on social networks, according to the Oaxaca Tourism Secretariat. Although recently, the offer of parties and festivals has diversified. This not only represents new showcases for Oaxaca but also opportunities to reinvent itself.