Retailers Complain of Drop in Sales
(Uruapan, Michoacán, 3 October) Local retailers and artisans around the church of “El Señor de los Milagros,” have indicated that sales were really low during the recent celebrations of the patronal festival because tourism has fallen off so sharply. Artists explained that the community survives mainly on religious tourism, and that many people have stopped coming to Michoacán because of “all the so ugly things that they say go on within the state.” They add that this drop in the number of religious visitors affects them directly, since they are their only market for the food and sweets, arts and crafts and general merchandise that they sell.
Juan Aguilar Guerrero, a retailer of folkloric clothing, said, “of course, our high season is really around the patronal festival of El Señor de los Milagros, and it was very bad this year. But the whole year has been disappointing.” He explained that in previous years, national and international tourists were almost always in evidence, especially on weekends, whether or not there was a festival, and that every year the number would increase. This year, it has been the reverse. He blamed the drop-off in the “bad reputation that they have given our state on the television.”
As in virtually every other part of Mexico that lives on tourism, the vendors called upon the government – local, state and federal – to do something to reverse the bad image that certain destinations have acquired in the popular press. “Without that, most of the merchants and artisans will be out of work,” said Aguilar Guerrero.