Mtra. Mónica Pérez Sánchez[1], Dr. Rafael Guerrero Rodríguez[2]

& Mtro. Walter Daniel Cisneros Mújica[3]


Emerging destinations around the world are implementing different strategies in order to ensure their survival on the tourism market. Accommodation becomes a crucial component especially when it forms part of the destination product. This paper presents the case of “Mineral de Pozos”, a small community in Guanajuato, México. This community, once known throughout colonial Mexico for its wealth and its prosperous mining industry, has been a virtual ghost town for almost a century. This situation has led its inhabitants to search for new alternatives of economic development, and tourism seems a viable option for this purpose. In recent years, this community has been awarded the distinction of “Pueblo Mágico” (Magic Town) by the Mexican Tourism Secretariat/Secretariat of Tourism, Mexico, due to its outstanding natural and cultural attractions. This program supports the creation of favourable conditions for local development by consolidating a tourism product based on the preservation of tangible and intangible heritage.

This paper will present an accommodation strategy (a boutique hotel) run by a local entrepreneur in Mineral de Pozos. The vision of this businessperson is to offer quality service facilitating not only generating profit from tourism but also – and perhaps more importantly – to consolidate a tourism product locally. The main conclusion of this paper is that coordination of actions –between public and private spheres – is central to the design and the implementation of feasible tourism strategies. Undoubtedly, the success or failure of these strategies will entirely depend on the correct interpretation and management of available tourism resources at the local level.

Keywords: Mexico, Accommodation, Policy, Emerging Destination, Competitiveness


Mineral de Pozos is a community located in Central Mexico, in Guanajuato State, which has been coined to take a graceful shape and be capable to generate attractive tourism flows, leveraging its cultural riches in a beautiful natural setting. Although this has not been always the community's vocation according to Guanajuato State's Government (2010). While its society and economy were dynamic, it focused on mining which began in the XVI century, but despite of their bonanza, the place started to suffer and repeated several periods of abandonment, so by the middle of the XX century Mineral de Pozos had already won the reputation of "ghost town", which together with the mysticism of the place and the nature generated that some visionary people fight for the recovery of some constructions to revalue the place (see picture 1 and 2).

Picture 1. One of Pozos’s Corner Picture 2. Side of the Main Square

It is recognized as exceptionally valuable testimony to the social, economic and aesthetic of Mexico (Sánchez Martínez, 2007).

Government actions and strategies undertaken in this community to preserve the cultural tourism that characterizes the main tourism products and destinations in the central west of the country, gave way to classifications and special appointments whose end it is the appreciation and preservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage of destinations with special and distinctive characteristics, full of mysticism and magic, as Mineral de Pozos.

Magic Town's appointment was given to this community on February 16, 2012, assuming to detonate its potential tourism, generating jobs and improve the habitants' life quality. The appointment gave way to various commitments by the government on its different levels, and the mention of Mexican peso amounts invested in projects of tourism development, which actions will be reflected in favor of the town and its habitants.

So, tourism is now the main economic activity, therefore, it is a cradle of investments for domestic and foreign, like in the case of the investment, 100% Mexican, made last year in this community, consolidating as a Boutique Hotel that certifies accomplish the expectations of the customers and visitors. The current work will talk about of this project that will analyze closely its performance and will verify that, indeed, the destination has been benefited with each action of this particular.


Mineral de Pozos is a community located at the municipality of San Luis de la Paz, in the northeast of Guanajuato State, at the region of the Sierra Gorda. The community of Mineral de Pozos is housed between hills above 2,300 meters of the sea level and only 25 miles from San Miguel de Allende, a World Heritage Site, also located in Guanajuato State.

The roads and infrastructure that allow you to arrive to the community are the 110-2 highway or 46 SCT. Another access is a dirt road from approximately 7 miles, an option that is not well-known and does not have road signs neither touristic signs, but communicates with the 57 highway, made of asphalt in good conditions and with the appropriate transport and tourism services. It also provides emergency services and is one of the country's busiest highways (Federal Government, 2011).

Map 1. Location in the country Map 2. Location in Guanajuato State

Source. Googlemaps (2013) Source. Googlemaps (2013)

Population and weather

According to the INEGI's Census of Population and Housing of 2010, the state has a population of 5'486,000,372 habitants, placing 115,000,656 habitants in the municipality of San Luis de la Paz. For this year, it is estimated that Pozos would be around 2,000,500 habitants. Mineral de Pozos is located in a semi-arid zone with a semi-dry weather. The temperature's annual average is between 12 °C and 18 °C. Source: Guanajuato's Municipal Monographs.


The region where the community is located was dominated by Chichimecas, Huachichiles, Copuces, Guaxabanes and Pames during the pre-Hispanic period. In Guanajuato's Monographs of its municipalities (2010) is notified that the first foundation was done by the jesuits, on 1576, in the northeast of the state. This is how the community of Palmar de la Vega borns, and later changes its name to Mineral de Pozos. The VIII Gonzalo de Tapia entered the territory on 1859, and because of its fairness and how quickly he learned the language, and the customs of otomies and chichimecas, he persuaded the natives to get together as a village. He also negotiated the terms of peace to ensure the conquest and foundations conducted by his predecessors, among this were Pozos's mines called Del Palmar.

Below are the community's aspects that gave place to generate important changes on her. They are organized from the most notorious until its current situation (chart 1).

Chart 1. Growth and evolution of Mineral de Pozos

Impact on the Community of Pozos

Event Date

Number of habitants

Historic event



Village’s conformation

Since 1576

Native, there is no data. The 1903’s census indicated 15,443.

XVI Century "The Conquest Century". Discovery of deposits of various minerals.

Human settlements.
The Chichimeca’s Nation in San Luis de la Paz.

Start of mining development.

First period of decline.

First decades of the XIX Century.

Eight thousand

Independence Movement

A lack of some essential elements for working, and the withdrawal of capital.

Decrease of bid labor. Stopped of most jobs in the year 1844

Resumption of activities

Second half of the XIX century

Eighty thousand

The productivity increases. A rise in commercial activities. There were some lodging services, food and beverage, entertainment services, such as the theater.

A positive economic outlook. Immigrants from France, Spain, Italy, England and the United States and other states: Guanajuato, Zacatecas, Mexico State, Hidalgo, etc.

Splendor and opulence of the place. In 1897, the village increases to the rank of city named Ciudad Porfirio Diaz. Growth in its population economy and infrastructure. Architectural Treasures.

Second period of decline

End of Porfirio Diaz’s Government.

Less than 200 on the 50's.

Mexican Revolution on 1910. On 1926, the cristero movement. International Depression. Metal prices drop.

Strong capital is removed. Lack of money and a lot of technical problems.

Mass exodus in search of work. The entire infrastructure was dismantled and sold. Complete abandonment of the people.

Reactivation of activities

President Lopez Portillo’s Government.

About 1,500 at the end of the XX century.

Recognized as Ghost Town which became a place of crafts and tourist attractions.

The Community was declared a National Historic Monument by the Mexican Government on 1982.

Declared Magic Town in 2012. Located in the II region of the State, attending the adventure and cultural tourism.

Decay period of growth Development period

Source: Authors' creation based on (Guanajuato State’s Government, 2010) and (Sánchez Martínez, 2007).

The community is now a peaceful place that has inspired artists (painters, photographers, etc.) and has served as a location for movies, thus foreigners and residents of the area have been taken the task to rescue this historic and singular site. Despite that the filmography does not make any reference to this place but to others, one case in particular is Juan Rulfo's film, "Pedro Paramo", where they talk about a town called Comala, although the movie was filmed in Mineral de Pozos, and neither Pozos nor Comala (Aguascalientes State’s Magic Town) used these tools as strategic touristic positioning.

Tourism at Mineral de Pozos

This community is now a town full of mysticism and magic, the main attraction of this place are the underground mines, there are about 20 and with the assistance of a guide, you can explore inside of some of them. The mining approach allows observing some ancient walls of buildings, some in ruins and others rebuilt, several abandoned that housed miners, monks, families and others.

Another of its major attractions are its architectural remains among the most prominent examples of the architectural richness of this village are the mining ex-haciendas of San Baldomero, Five Lords, Dolores, The Triangle, and majestic remnants of the "Model School ".

There are also samples of Pre-Hispanic Music and workshops that allow tourists to appreciate and learn about the making of local musical instruments. Many of its current habitants are dedicated to the manufacture of pre-Hispanic instruments.

To make it easier the visit to this beautiful place, we have created a list of the most important sites to visit (see Chart 2)

Chart 2. Landmarks

Points of Interest

Churches and Chapels

Shops, galleries and restaurants

1. Delegation
2. Library "Palmar de Nogal"
3. Old Mode School

4. Alameda
5. Door of the Constitution
6. Mine Santa Brigida
7. Mines Area
8. Main Square Juarez

9. Square Zaragoza
10. Old Supply
11. House of Culture

1. Parroquia San Pedro
2. Casa Santa Chapel
3. Señor de los Trabajos Chapel
4. San Antonio de Padua Chapel
5. Señor de la Misericordia Chapel
6. Refugio Chapel

1. Restaurant "Los Famosos de Pozos"
2. Instruments and Pre-Hispanic Music "Camino de Piedra"
3. Collective Cinema

4. Gallery "Gallery 6"
5. Restaurant-bar "Posada de las Minas"
6. Gallery "Rueffert Gallery"
7. Handcrafts "Manos Creativas"
8. Workplace of "Janice Freeman y Geoff Winningham"
9. Shop "Mineral de Pozos, A. C."

10. Gallery "Casa de Cielo"
11. Instruments Construction Company "Casa del Venado Azul"
12. Handcrafts “El Rebozo"
13. Store "Arte y Diseño de Pozos"

14. Restaurant, Cafe bar and gallery "La Pila Seca"

Source: Authors' creation based on the Tourism Observatory of Guanajuato State (2013)

The place allows practicing ecotourism activities such as hiking, rappelling and botanical tours. In addition, through the area’s semi-desert landscape you can appreciate the remains of ancient ex-haciendas, chapels and ruins, some with walls still raised but no windows, doors or ceilings.

Picture 3. Chapel among ruins Picture 4. Remains of an exhacienda

The town can be explored on foot, bike, horse or using any motor transportation, where the reference point is the main garden, from where tourists can start the journey with caution as there are holes and slopes with no signal that were excavated and abandoned, perhaps were the latest attempts made to find precious material (Sánchez Martínez, 2007).

Picture 5. Casco de Hacienda Picture 6. Community Street

Through these tours, the villagers tell old stories, traditions and legends of the "ghost town", further enriching the tourist experience.

Additionally, during the year there are held events of young creation, which in a continuous way and looking for its consolidation, they are listed as the community’s festivities (see Chart 1). They are also promoted as a regional way and they look to promote the growth the place's tourism.

Chart 3. Mineral de Pozos’s festivities




Mines and Music Festival


Art Walk


Home and Garden Tour


Easter and Passion Play


Mariachi Festival

City’s Anniversary Porfirio Diaz

Mineral de Pozos’s Sound

Lord of the Works Festival


Toltequity Festival

Blues Festival

Art Walk


Mines and Music Festival

Home and Garden Tour


Day of the Dead


Christmas Fair


Source: Authors' creation based on SEDETUR (2013)

In addition, given the centric location that has Mineral de Pozos, you can make trips to other communities or towns located in the same state of Guanajuato or other states, as in the case of Queretaro, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi, Dolores Hidalgo, among others.

Governmental actions

San Luis de la Paz gave to Guanajuato State its regionalization though the assistance of the Silver’s Historic Route. Currently, the Ministry of Tourism established 6 tourism regions, where Pozos is part of the II region mainly specialized in tourism adventure; however, the community, in addition to have natural attractions, has turned towards to cultural tourism, especially for wealth architecture of the place.

According to the Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR-CESTUR; 2002), cultural tourism is defined as "Any touristic journey motivated to know, understand and enjoy the set of features and distinctive, spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional elements that characterize a society or social group of an specific destination ". Through a proper management, this type of tourism gives way to the supply of touristic experiences which are difficult to match and appreciated by the tourist, the heritage conservation of touristic use, and it also achieves the economic and social development of the communities by generating new jobs for the coming generations.

The target of the SECTUR's Cultural Tourism Development Program is to "coordinate efforts focused to ensure the segment’s development, strengthening mechanisms and instruments to achieve the long-term use of natural and cultural resources, guaranteeing economic and social profitability of their projects "(SECTUR-CESTUR, 2002).

The variation and development of new tourism products through strategic alliances is one of the strongest goals with actions that have been implemented to support the identification and provision of infrastructure and equipment for cultural tourism, mainly in those points or sites that have a high tourism impact from the point of view of tourist arrivals, economic benefit and job creation. Mexico’s Tourism Ministry (SECTUR) organizes its actions in three areas (see Figure 1)

Figure 1. Actions SECTUR

Source. Authors’ creation base on SECTUR (2013)

With the firm goal of preserving the Mexican cultural attractions, there are several steps, including the Magic Towns Program, developed by the Ministry of Tourism overall with government agencies and state and local governments.

According to SECTUR (2013), a Magic Town is a town that has symbolic attributes, legends, history, important facts, every day, in brief it has to have MAGIC that comes from each of its socio-cultural manifestations and that mean today a great opportunity for tourism and they get enroll in the need to join efforts to become founder for local and regional economy..

Now, Mexico has 83 Magic Towns and still counting.

Mineral de Pozos obtained the appointment of the Magic Town on February 16, 2012 (No. 49), conceding the participation of governmental agencies of great interest, both government agencies as service providers and local community, full of speeches that encouraged the development of the community. SECTUR 2013.

To achieve this designation, Mineral de Pozos as all locations who achieved it, it has to observe several requirements, procedures and documentation that allowed it to get the title of Magic Town.

Figure 2. Principal points referring to the Magic Towns Program

Source. Compiled from SECTUR (2012)

In addition to these basic criteria, there are defined criteria that can be included in the Magic Towns Program among which are:

Application for incorporation; Initial assessment visit done by the General Management of Regional Programs and/or the General Management of Tourism Product Development.

Incorporation of the record, once the application is approved, shall contain:

  1. Involvement of the Company and Local Authorities.
  2. Planning and Regulatory Instruments. Projects for Municipal and State Development. Tourism Urban Development Plan. Municipal Tourism Development Program. Regulation of urban image and a management plan based on the Magic Towns Program. Rearrangement Trade Program.
  3. Promote the Municipal Development though programs. Continuation and consolidation of programs and/or actions for tourism development.
  4. Bid of attractions and services. To have a symbolic attraction (unique). To have different touristic attractions. Travel services that guarantee its potential merchandising (flow in radius). Assistance services, health and public safety.
  5. Singular Value "The Magic Town". Declaration of "Zone of Historic Monuments." Conservation actions of tangible and intangible heritage. Rescue and preservation.
  6. Terms and Territorial Areas. Accessibility land. Feasibility for touristic trade. Touristic product. Rated by the General Management of Tourism Product Development.
  7. Impact of Tourism in the town and the influence area. Touristic State Information System.
  8. Assessment of the touristic impact on a regional and/or municipal level. Relevant displays of tourism behavior. Distribution of printed and digital materials.
  9. Development of local capability. Induction Workshop of Magic Towns Program (teach the town). Workshop for planning and management of cultural tourism.

Database evaluation by the Inter-Agency of Evaluation and Selection (CIES)

The record validated by the local and state authorities, is sent to the General Management of Regional Programs for a review, the pre-feasibility will be assess by the CIES, and its incorporation to the program will be defined.

If it accomplishes the Criteria for Incorporation of the Program, the town will have the pre-feasibility to be recognized as a Magic Town, and you will get the designation in no more than 3 years, during which it must establish itself as a touristic destination, through public investments in infrastructure, tourism facilities, urban image development, application of competitive programs, among others.

Also, CIES will determine the moment when the town will be designated as a Magic Town. During this time, the town will see the Indicators Manual for the Magic Towns Program to obtain feedback on their performance as a touristic destination. However, once the designation is given, it must apply these indicators during the first 3 months, in order to have a base year and to make the recertification at the time established by SECTUR.

Certificate of nomination

The localities incorporated to the program, to keep their designation as Magic Town must obtain its renewal each year, this will include the review of agreement with the Performance Evaluation Indicators and Program Certification Criteria, so they must accomplish with the requirements detailed below:

The Performance Evaluation Indicators are grouped according to the following chart:

Chart 4. Performance Indicators

Institutional and

Heritage and sustainability

Economical and social


• Envelopment with society
• Security at the destination
• Development of new business
• Cultural and historical development
• Tourism development planning

• Integrity and authenticity of heritage
• Sustainability

• Efficiency of institutional coordination
• Public investment generated from the program
• Economic impact of
tourism development

• Bid attractions
• Tourism promotion

Source. Prepared based on SECTUR (2013).

The Program Certification Criteria

They are divided into 3 areas: Planning, Competitiveness and Strengthenin

Chart 5. Certification Criteria

Axis: Planning

Axis: Competitiveness

Axis: Strengthening

1. State and Municipal Development Plans.

2. Municipal Tourism Development Program.
3. Regulation of urban image and management plan based on the Magic Towns Program.

1. Software to support municipal development.
2. Tourism services that can guarantee its trading.
3. Assistance and security services.
4. Actions to preserve tangible and intangible heritage.
5. Tourism trade and development of local tourism products.

6. Distribution and promotion of the destination.
7. To have a municipal tourism information system.

1. Accomplish the program according to the Coordination Agreements of the Committee on Relocation Resources.

2. Continuation and consolidation of programs and /or actions for tourism development.
3. Monitoring tourism and economic impact of the town’s designation to the regional and /or municipal level.

Axis value: 10%

Axis value: 40%

Axis value: 50%

Source. Prepared based on Tourism Secretary (2013)

On 2011, a Partial Program of Urban- Tourism Development of Mineral de Pozos, of Guanajuato State, was published in the Official Journal of the Federation. It exposures the community’s growth and how its business activity works. Since its nomination as a Magic Town, it displays the possibility to boost tourism activity through an activate plan of tourism attractions and products that can interest visitors and thus generate significant economic spills.

Regional Tourism Strategy

This strategy contains a variety of products to be generated in the medium and long term, to allow the development of the community, the following are mentioned:

  1. Integral Tourism Project (PTI) St. Bridget. Ex hacienda hotel, clubhouse, cluster of country houses, sites and monuments, parks and recreation areas.
  2. Theme Park Five gentlemen. Ex hacienda with semi-closed and open spaces to house exhibitions, set plays, concerts, movies, music, sculpture, among others.
  3. Cultural Center of Arts and Crafts. Rehabilitation of the Model School, promote arts and crafts.
  4. Music Cultural Center. Recover the Old Supply. Musical concerts.
  5. Tourism Information Center. Orientation and sale of tour services.
  6. Information Center by satellite reception. Reactivation of the Old Radio.
  7. Triangle Visitor Center. Link tourism service providers.
  8. Cactus Botanical Garden. Improvement cactus family and the area vegetation.
  9. Gourmet Market. Revaluation of culinary work and the use of local ingredients.
  10. Cultural System. Shaped by museums and scenarios of visual arts, performing, literary, culinary, galleries, workshops of arts and crafts, networks, boutique hotels, etc.
  11. State country routes. Involving various touristic services. Enabling transport, and be part of the growth of the road’s.

Complementary activities generated in parallel

ü Promotion and advertising, extensive marketing

ü Improving Urban image

ü Purification of the environment

The appointment promises to enable and generate proposals that incorporate Mineral de Pozos to tourism dynamics. It is in this sense that the project unfolds a boutique hotel, which in one way can complement future needs that the destination will demand in terms of accommodation and food services and, on the other hand, become a destination attraction axis. It requires a viability study to determine the feasibility of establishing a hotel under a particular category that meets these goals or above a denomination called boutique.

Now there are 6 small boutique hotels, with a unique charm and comfort. However, it is an insufficient supply to meet the current demand of Mineral de Pozos, therefore derived from the need to offer accommodation in a destination whose potential tourism is notorious, it rises the idea to open and offer an establishment, in addition to attend the housing requirements, it ideally will become a point where ecotourism activities, shows, art, traditions and cuisine will meet.


Set in a magical town, the Hotel is created as an ideal tourism complement looking to established as the main lodging bid and the first integral offer of products for different segments.

Picture 7. Aerial view of Hotel Boutique

With a choice of 7 bedrooms (two master suites, four junior suites and one suite) specially equipped and maintained in decor so in that way they can welcome and enrich the customer’s experience, providing specialized services lacked in the town and nearby.

The supply of services not only focuses on accommodation and food, but seeks to ensure an stay that meets the expectations of visitors and that can contribute with the destination in the bid of various services (see Figure 3).

Figure 3. Boutique Hotel Services

Source. Authors’ creation.

Against this background, it is identified that the boutique hotel becomes a strong attraction for the city, considering that despites the existence of places, activities and food. The boutique hotel’s supply of services makes the destination to be complemented and motivate; in some cases, the movements, only if it represents a great responsibility to establish if you are looking for a job that lends you to work in partnership with Mineral de Pozos. From this conception, it takes place a relevant study to define the community’s social reality of Mineral de Pozos based on tourism (see diagram 1).

Diagram 1. Lifting stages

Source. Authors’ creation.

The documentary phase gets organized from the collection and the construction of the database referring to the media used by visitors to learn and plan their trip, allowing to build a location map; the following step, let establish the familiarization phase whose goal was to corroborate the gathered information and identify each tourism attractive to set the lifting plan. The third phase was formed by the surveys applied to the tourists (face to face) based on random sampling and defined by schedules, days and strategic points. The results were obtained by using SPSS for making graphing and determine the interpretation of the results, from an instrument applied to 350 people (visitors, tourists and hikers) during 3 months, emphasizing that currently the visits made to the destination are low and they get concentrate on weekends; so that is why the sample applied on time was difficult to accomplish. For this reason, the surveys were distributed in days and hours, as well as lifting points, to obtain the results of different visitors as previously identified (by direct observation non-participatory) that there is a greater affluence of national tourism on weekends and, during the week, there are foreigners (all conditioned by the stay of less than 4 hours on average).

Therefore, the results let us that we could establish schedules as shown in Chart 6.

Chart 6. Schedule for surveys




10:00 to 11:00 hrs.

Main Square

Point of arrival, main access of people and vehicles.

11:00 to 13:00 hrs.

Main Church

With an easy access and location.

13:00 to 15:00 Hrs.

Old Supply and School Model

15:00toa 17:00 Hrs.

Mine “Cinco Señores” and Hotel Posada de las Minas (outside)

Sites with major flow.

Source. Authors’ creation.

To achieve the goal, the interviewers worked in groups on different days of the week during the months indicated, thus reaching the following results:

The age of visitors is determined in a range from 22 to 70 years, being the visitors of 50 years old, the ones that visit the most this place; from those, 54.84% are male and the rest females (see Graph 1).

Graph 1. Gender visitors

Source. Authors’ creation.

Mineral de Pozos has as its principal motivation the vacations, followed by religion, alternative tourism and culture. Emphasizing that the community holds religious festivities such as the Toltequity Festival and the Celebration of the Patron Saint, among others. Additionally, alternative tourism is done by an activity that visitors do, although this product is not offer in the community, but in other close destinations such as San Miguel de Allende and Dolores Hidalgo (see Graph 2).

Graph 2. Gender Business Motivation

Source. Authors’ creation.

However, Mineral de Pozos has a lack of attractive monuments that does not allow the overnight, so it is estimated that the destination visitors stay an average from 3 to 5 hours in one day; that is why Pozos is seen as a destination only to take a walk and not for staying. (Graph 3)

Graph 3. Overnight

Source. Authors’ creation.

With no activities at the destination, there is not enough lodging supply. In case of the visitors that stay one night (31%), they have only 3 options where they can pass the night; one of them is under the classification of Treasures of Mexico and there rest of the visitors prefer to stay with their family, so they does not spend money on accommodation (see Graph 4).

Graph 4. Types of accommodation

Source. Authors’ creation.

Finally, we define the interaction between the visitor and the destination considering the few options that he has to pass the time, for which the majority of respondents consider the walk (in terms of visiting the location without using a vehicle) as the main option to know the place. Other alternatives are to visit museums or restaurants. There is a high degree of discontent with the lack of activities for visitors, which some suggest several activities such as biking, horseback riding, spa, alternative tourism activities, classic cinema, etc. (see Graph 5)

Graph 5. Which activities would you like to find in Pozos?

Source. Authors’ creation.

From the above, we can highlight that the frail figure of Mineral de Pozos as a destination is capable to attract visitors. It detonates the need of touristic products that can complete and incite the tourist to visit the place.

Mineral de Pozos currently has a moderate frequency of visitors that stay from 3 to 5 hours due to the lack of products, services and attractions, as well the poverty of urban designs, touristic and road signs for accessibility; derived from this, the boutique hotel looks forward to complete the destination’s deficits though its services and incite the travelers to spend more time at the destination; by offering spa services, regional cuisine based on the rescue of some local ingredients such as chilcuague, pita and the xoconoxtle; it promotes the culture through its small cinema where classic films for national and international guests are projected. It spreads the culture from its art gallery, selling artworks made by local artists, preparing exhibitions, concerts and music recitals, as well as providing spaces for meetings, for resting and spend vacations, among other actions that does not work only as company’s commercial products, they also serve as reference for the destination in the supply of attractions and services. It offers within its services, to be in contact with the environment, by doing cultural tours, handcrafts at its workshops, hiking, horseback riding, mountain bike trails, ATV tours, mining exploration, parks and farms, flora and fauna.

This means that the boutique hotel establishes a close relationship with the States Government’s goals that are propose to the town in terms of strengthening the destination, attracting investments and financing, and to rationalize the use of natural and cultural resources. Therefore, the hotel developed its strategies in compliance with the fundamental premises established as General Tourism Development Strategies.

Chart 7. General Tourism Development Strategies coupled with the employer’s activity

Fundamental Premise

Business Strategy applied

Cultures and traditions

The company is incorporated to the environment, using for its structure some materials from the region, as well as the involvement of the habitants.

They serve and jointly promote local festivals as a social commitment

It promotes Mexican regional cuisine using local ingredients.

Sustainable Tourism

Solar cells are installed.

It works in collaboration with the Biosphere Reserve in plans and programs to support local communities.

Program for the use of sustainable resources.

Preservation of the zone’s integrity

Its structure is designed in compliance with the community’s physiognomy, each one of its rooms have a specific theme were its items reinforce chichimeca’s local identity.

Create a visitor with high-value

Considering that its services are of quality and details, it attracts a larger segment with a current purchasing power, guaranteeing service and good treatment activities, and of course a greater economy.

Source: Authors' creation based on (Federal Government, 2011)


One of the topics this paper wishes to discuss is related to the process of implementation of tourism plans in the case of Mineral de Pozos. It is important to note that research on policy “implementation” seeks to understand how the machinery of the state and political actors intersect to produce public actions (John, 1999: 1). Before the 1970s, researchers in political science tended to focus their analyses on the phase of “policy formulation” leaving “implementation” to the attention of administration scholars. However, more recently a new wave of studies emerged aiming to gain a better understanding of the policy process as a whole considering “implementation” as a crucial part of the analysis (Hogwood and Gunn, 1984). These types of studies focused on providing insightful explanations for the failure or success of policies derived from “implementation” practices.

“Implementation” is not viewed here as a linear process neither as an exercise doomed by the will of its implementers but as complex social interactive process that involves multiple scenarios of adaptation, reformulation and, above all, negotiation. Considering the former, “implementation” is conceived in this paper as “an interactive and negotiative process...between those seeking to put policy into effect and those upon whom action depends” (Barrett and Fudge, 1981: 25, quoted by Krutwaysho and Bramwell, 2010: 671). Thus, it is recognized the crucial role that actors’ visions play in these negotiations setting the power arrangements through which policies are legitimated and implemented.

It is important to note that the literature concerning policy implementation in tourism remains modest because it is “still diverse and fragmented and there have been few structured attempts to extract lessons from implementation” (Krutwaysho and Bramwell, 2010: 675). Despite this, some studies have paid attention to exploring implementation experiences from the perspective of the actors involved. Some examples of these types of studies can be found in the works of Airey and Chong (2010), Krutwaysho and Bramwell (2010), Stevenson (2007) and Stevenson et al (2008). These studies investigate the narratives of the actors participating in this process in order to gain a better understanding of how different visions are bridged, contested, transformed and/or negotiated.

For the particular case of Mineral de Pozos, it can be said that the implementation process has proceeded in an incremental manner. The community conversion from mining to tourism activities formally started in the late 1970s once the federal government recognized the importance of tourism as a development tool, especially in economically depressed areas like this case. Given the difficult conditions this community experienced during most of the 20th Century, tourism appeared as a viable economic alternative to pursuit. Thus, the main objective was to integrate this region into the national dynamics of tourism in order to take advantage of its economic benefits. Despite the great efforts made by local and regional authorities during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, little could be materialized to transform this community into a relevant tourism destination. Nevertheless, this preparation process was helpful for the identification of multiple heritage and natural resources for tourism purposes. This previous work helped this community to be integrated within the proposal of a regional tourism circuit denominated “Ruta de la Plata” (silver route) and, ultimately, for the elaboration of a local Development Plan in 2011 in order to address urban and tourism issues.

As previously mentioned in this paper, Mineral de Pozos received the distinction from the federal government as Pueblo Mágico in February 2012. This certification seemed to revive the management process in which this community has been working during the last three decades. Above all, it seemed to give a new impulse to the entrepreneurial initiatives from the public and private sector. However, this certification has not helped to solve the main problems that prevent tourism development so far. There is still a great lack of coordination among the different actors within the community to consolidate a consolidated tourism product. This situation has prevented the social cohesion that is needed among the local stakeholders (government, private sector, community) to develop a strong tourism destination. Additionally, there has been a lack of public investment that prevents not only the development of tourism activities but also the social and economic development of the community. This is clearly reflected in infrastructural, environmental, and social problems that the local government has been unable or unwilling to solve.

We believe the award of this certification has indeed contributed to put Mineral de Pozos in the spot of the national the tourism market, at least in promotional terms. However, we also consider that this certification can only report a very modest contribution to the achievement of local development goals in the short and medium term. The design and implementation of a more complete strategy in terms of planning is needed in order to ensure the progressive growth of tourism activities and tourists’ flows to the region. This is not to say that this certification or previous planning work is completely useless; perhaps it remains incomplete. It is acknowledged here that this certification might be unable to lead this community to develop in a sustainable way as is expected by the local government. That is why initiatives from the private sector such as the Boutique Hotel that is presented in this paper acquire more relevance, especially in communities where the tourism planning process is unfinished such as the case of Mineral de Pozos. This initiative has proven to be useful to strengthen the local offer in the community as well as to preserve and promotion the local heritage to the visitors. It is important to say that this hotel has been able to subsist despite an almost absence of economic and organizational support from local authorities. In this sense, our main contention is that these sorts of initiatives should be supported and replicated throughout this territory in order to consolidate a strong tourism destination. The former must be accompanied with the implementation of more effective tourism programs and investment plans to ensure a more congruent growth aligned with tourism sustainable principles. More studies (such as the one conducted by this research team) are needed to shed some light on the evolution of the local tourism dynamics derived from the implementation of these initiatives and development plans. This follow-up is crucial to evaluate and monitor the progress of the destination and the achievement (or not) of the goals envisaged within the development plans. Otherwise, the implementation of corrective measures and action plans in fragile areas would be impossible making these initiatives ineffective for the purposes they were created in the first place. It is believed that Mineral de Pozos possess the potential to become a relevant tourism destination, at least at the regional level. Yet, the coordination of actions remains as a pending agenda at the local level in the years to come.


Tourism activities cause the displacement of large numbers of people to various destinations, producing amazing results in communities hosting cultural richness, natural urban and high impact. Currently, the cultural tourism product is has being increasingly supported by other dependencies and Government Institutions (municipal and state), that have allocated economic resources for its development and consolidation in the tourism market.

Destinations that are characterized by identity and authenticity as in the case of Mineral de Pozos are more likely to capture a defined flow of tourists coupled to a positive environment that increase the stay and tourism expenditure. It is required if you want to preserve the cultural richness of mechanisms that are seen holistically and are able to guarantee the enjoyment of cultural and natural resources and their use by current and future residents of the area.

Business participation is essential to ensure the sustainability of resources, which in synergy with citizen participation lead to better decisions and best practices for the town, on the premise of sustainability must implement each of the activities generated by tourism service providers and complementary, each project thus revalue regional wealth, both cultural and natural, same that can be distinguished by future visitors to highlight its originality. It is the obligation of experts and decision makers to ensure the creation of identity and authenticity destinations and offer competitive tourism products, differentiated and value-added.

It is estimated that the appointment of Pueblo Magico favor the hotel sector, positively affecting the stay, hotel occupancy increased from 20% to 55%, density per room (2 persons), 60% foreign ownership and increasing overall visitor flow. However, because of the recent appointment, the real impacts are not known yet, will have to wait, and observe actual site conditions that will be generated to the Community.


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[1] Profesor Investigador, Departamento de Gestión y Dirección de Empresas, Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico

[2] Profesor Investigador, Departamento de Gestión y Dirección de Empresas, Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico

[3] Profesor Investigador, Departamento de Gestión y Dirección de Empresas, Universidad de Guanajuato, Mexico