This year, the World Organization of Travel Journalists (OMPT) selected the city of San Luis Potosí, Mexico, for the International Open Passport Award, a recognition given to travel journalists from different parts of the world who carry out their work in an ethical manner and organizations that collaborate with the committed work of these tourism communication professionals.
The Open Passport Award, which has been awarded since 2017, seeks to represent the need to live in a world without borders, where respect, solidarity and free access to information reign.
The experience that we would live for a week was just beginning. The meeting was on September 3rd at the Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City at 1:00 PM. We were then transported to San Luis Potosí by bus; however, they had a setback and we were unable to leave at the appointed time.
It was not until 2:00 in the afternoon that the transport finally arrived, and half an hour later we were on the route that would take us to this Mexican city; a trip that took about seven hours.
We have to admit that despite the fatigue, the kindness of the weather, the charisma of everyone and the rather pleasant trip, made this trip an indescribable joy until our arrival (9:00 p.m.) at the Fiesta Americana Hotel, which awaited us with a high Mexican dinner
The big day arrived, the Open Passport awards ceremony. We were previously invited by the authorities to the City Hall of San Luis Potosí, located in the historic center (recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO).
Its temples, or parishes, and its well-preserved houses, which rise in the seven original districts that made up the city, testify to the wealth that existed at the time of the Spanish conquest. As you stroll through its tranquil squares, one perceives this contrast between the old and the present; Not less, this city, considered the capital of “Yes”, maintains an important heritage of architecture and history, where you can also see several tourist attractions, all very close to each other, and a good way to discover them is a walking tour , which can start from the Plaza de Armas or from the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of the Expectation, dating from 1670-1730, in Baroque style and housing an excellent repertoire of sacred art inside. It is the only church in the world that has 24 sculptures of the apostles of Christ: 12 made of Carrara marble on the facade and 12 made of quarry stone on the edge of the roof.
A few steps from this place is the Government Palace, with neoclassical architecture, which opens its doors to show within its walls interesting spaces that tell passages of national history that happened in San Luis, such as the Ponciano Arriaga Room, where former President Benito Juarez created in 1862 the Supreme Court.
One block away is the Plaza de los Fundadores, surrounded by buildings that at one time were transcendental to the political, economic, cultural and intellectual development of the state, such as the central building of the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí.
Not far away are the Leonora Carrington Museums, the Potosíno Regional Museum, the National Mask Museum and the Labyrinth Museum of Arts and Sciences and many others, but in one day you cannot visit everything that San Luis Potosí has to offer..
After having lunch at City Hall and touring the historic center, we headed to the hotel to get ready for the big awards gala that was held at the Potosino Convention Center and included a red carpet.
After entering the hall, journalists from different parts of the world settled down at their tables. In our case we had to share with Cuba, Spain, Peru and Mexico.
I can’t deny that as the wine and mecal, this newest flagship spirit from San Luis Potosí, was being passed around all the tables, nervousness began to cross all my senses… and that was being nominated in the category of social relevance with a journalistic note: “Portobello, a port of historic wealth that cries out for government action.”
Miguel Ledhesma, President of OMPT, was in charge of calling the categories together with other members of the jury, but nothing appeared in the one I participated in… with so much waiting, anxiety had already overtaken me.
Almost an hour after the award ceremony started they finally introduced the nominees in social relevance, I was sure I would be one of the winners but when they called out “Drugs, the attraction of tourism” by Natividad Sanchez from Mexico, who was the winner I had to resigned. But suddenly a jury said, “Oh! There is another winner and it is “Portobello, a port of historical wealth that cries out for government action”, by Yelina Pérez Sánchez, I didn’t even realize when I was already receiving the statuette made by the Mexican sculptor Mario Luis Cuevas.
A piece inspired by the original found in the Tamohi Archaeological Zone, Tamuin Municipality (San Luis Potosí), in the Huasteca Potosina. Sculpted in limestone after 1000 AD, it is considered to be the most beautiful and important circular sculpture – which can be observed from all angles – of all discovered belonging to the Huasteca culture.
This perfectly preserved sculpture represents Deepak, the god of corn. It measures 145cm high, 42cm wide and 20cm thick.
But not everything ends there, in another part we will talk about inclusive tourism, gastronomy and religious tourism. These were all experiences we were able to enjoy during our week long stay in San Luis Potosí.