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Social media ‘influencers’ attracted to Mérida’s gastronomy, culture

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Lalo Villar, a social influencer, savors Mérida’s street food on his YouTube channel. Photo: YouTube / La Ruta de la Garnacha

Mérida, Yucatán — The beauty of its architecture, its exquisite cuisine and the warmth of its people make the Centro Histórico an ideal setting for social media influencers.

And the Centro is coming off well on their YouTube channels.

A social media influencer is a popular figure on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or another digital platform who has established credibility in a specific industry. They have gained huge followings, and their endorsement is more valuable than any 30-second spot on television.

Food is a common theme in the videos.

“I think the best way to learn about another culture and connect with other people, no matter where in the world, is through food,” said Mark Wiens, whose nearly 2 million YouTube followers followed him into Lucas de Gálvez and Santiago markets. His ecstatic reaction to the cochinita pibil made Rick Bayless seem indifferent by comparison.

He also introduced his fans to papadzules, huevos motuleños and relleno negro, emphasizing the “authentic” experience of enjoying “street food.”

Another influencer, “Food Ranger” blogger Trevor James, whose YouTube channel has 1.6 million subscribers, recently marveled at a giant shawarma at San Benito.

“We found some of the most SATISFYING street Food in Mexico! In this satisfying food video, we’re taking you for a full on street food tour of some of the most satisfying street food in Merida, Mexico! Like the HUGE Tacos Al Pastor, and MORE!” he raved (upper-case emphases are his).

He also visited the food area in the San Benito market and, finally, Progreso’s beaches.

Lalo Villar, of La Ruta de la Garnacha, reached more than 646,000 followers with a video love letter to panuchos and sopa de lima. Later, he devoured a cochinita taco and ice cream.

The bloggers, who don’t appear to be backed up by a professional camera crew, nonetheless manage to create compelling and flattering images of the Centro. Some of them use drones to get dramatic aerial views.

In December, Mérida’s attracitions were disseminated by the Expedia, an international travel agency with a web platform.

The video, recorded in English, shows the Municipal Palace, the House of Francisco de Montejo, the Plaza Grande, the Paseo de Montejo, the Cathedral, the Museum of the City and the wide range of cultural activities that take place in the historic center.

In March, Expedia called Mérida one of the “32 most beautiful cities in Mexico,” highlighting its colonial buildings and newly renovated homes in the Centro, as well as its proximity to beaches.

Source: Diario de Yucatán

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