Do you have a favorite world city? One of mine, San Miguel de Allende, returned to the annual Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards at the top of the “Small Cities in the World” list. San Miguel had also been recognized as the “Best Small City in the World” in 2017 and 2018.
This year, more than 715,000 readers submitted responses, rating their travel experiences across the globe. Chiang Mai, Thailand, came in second place, followed by another Mexican entry, Mérida, Yucatán. Monte Carlo in Monaco came in fourth, and the capital of Malta, Valletta, was fifth.
San Miguel is well-known as a UNESCO World Heritage city, set in Mexico’s central highlands in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. It is admired for its baroque Spanish architecture, thriving arts scene and cultural festivals, and is a favorite for U.S. and Canadian expats.
San Miguel started its reopening process on July 15 after a four-month closing of its entrances to non-residents. With more than 200,000 inhabitants, San Miguel has reported one of Mexico’s lowest numbers of cases of Covid-19. This is a result of strict health policies, and its local “Health First” certification launched on May 25, and reinforced by certification with the WTTC “Safe Travels” stamp on July 2.
The city is now looking to regain its footing in the business and romance travel markets. Thirty-seven non-stop flights arrive per week from the U.S. to Guanajuato’s international airport (BJX), which serves San Miguel de Allende. Local hotels are already able to book up to 50 percent of available rooms.
“We are more than proud to return to the RCA list this year, and … for this honor that is, without doubt, a reflection of the welcoming nature of our residents and the hard work our tourism infrastructure does on a continuous basis,” said San Miguel de Allende’s Mayor, Luis Alberto Villarreal García.
“Considering the current situation of the tourism industry, we are overjoyed with this recognition,” added Laura Torres Septién, President of the San Miguel de Allende Tourism Board. “We welcome any and all good news that gives a sense of normalcy.”
SOURCE: FORBES, LEA LANE