Mérida, Yucatán — The city is halfway through its year of being the Cultural Capital of the Americas, a prestigious designation that also requires sizable investment.
And that investment has to be doled out carefully.
Approximately 27 of the 75 million pesos budgeted by the city has been spent on the year-long festival, which has drawn 180,000 participants, reports José Luis Martinez Semerena, president of the Culture and Spectacles Committee.
Organizers are back-loading the festival with some of the most-anticipated events, such as the concert by Argentinean singer Fito Páez. Planned for December, officials are still weighing which venue best suit the event.
Also in the final stretch — in October and November — a replica of the Sistine Chapel is expected to attract around 100,000 visitors, said Martinez Semerena.
Restaurateurs reported an increase in sales of up to 40 percent, and flights to the capital went up by 16 percent since the festival began, he said.