The hosting baton of the World Company Sport Games, an event that attracts thousands of participants, has been passed from Athens, Greece, to the state of Guanajuato in Mexico.
The Mexican city of Leon (state of Guanajuato, Mexico) has been announced as the next organizer of the World Company Sport Games (WCSG) and received the event’s official flag from the Athens 2021 organization during a ceremony in the Greek capital.
“This will be the first time the World Company Sport Games are going to leave the continent and I assure you that we are going to stage a great edition,” Juan José Álvarez Brunel, Tourism Minister of the state of Guanajuato, told GTP Headlines while in Athens to attend the Games.
The Athens 3rd World Company Sport Games ended on October 10 at the Panathenaic Stadium after having hosted athletes and companies from not only Europe, but from across the world.
The WCSG is an international event organized by the World Federation for Company Sport (WFCS) that brings together working people from across the globe to compete and demonstrate the virtues of company sport. Open to all levels and abilities and for organisations of all sizes, forms and sectors, the Games represent the largest, most inclusive sporting event dedicated to employees.
For three days, the city of Athens transformed to the centre of company sport and saw some 3,500 athletes from 37 countries joining the sport festival and sharing moments of joy, friendship and fair play.
Next year will be the State of Guanajuato’s turn.
Minister Brunel: The Games are an opportunity to show what Guanajuato’s tourism is all about
On October 10 the WCSG hosting baton was passed to the Mexican city of Leon (state of Guanajuato, Mexico) who will host the next event in 2022.
Conveniently located in central Mexico, the state of Guanajuato is no stranger at staging events as it is the host destination to many including the Guanajuato International Film Festival, the International Hot Air Balloon festival, the International Cervantino Festival and the Mexico rally.
“Of course this is the first time the city will host an event – a European-organized event – of this level… But we are used to greeting international events and we know how to host our guests and of course we will take the opportunity to show what tourism is all about in Guanajuato,” Minister Brunel told GTP Headlines.
According to the minister, by hosting the 4th WCSG, the state of Guanajuato is aiming to develop its reputation as a sports tourism destination, which will bring benefits for its tourism product that already includes an array of segments: culture tourism, wedding tourism, LGBT tourism, business tourism, culinary tourism and – more recently – wine tourism.
“We are developing – and that is why we are in Greece right now – sports tourism… A healthy lifestyle is important and this can be combined with wellness, medical tourism, holistic activities and spas, all which are very well developed in many areas in Guanajuato,” he said.
Minister Brunel invites all to the 4th World Company Sport Games (WCSG) as it will be a chance for guests to experience Guanajuato’s hospitality.
“We’re welcoming everyone because we love taking care of people. We’re gonna make sure that everyone’s experience is above expectations. We have not only the facilities but we have many different levels of tourism forms and we are prepared to welcome everyone: from the VIPs to the backpackers,” he said.
It should be mentioned that San Miguel de Allende, located in the far eastern part of Guanajuato, shined as a destination in the 26th Annual Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards and the 2021 Readers Choice Awards of Condé Nast Traveller. San Miguel de Allende was named Best City in the World by Travel + Leisure and ranked 5th on Condé Nast Traveller’s Best Cities in the World 2021 list.
‘Attracting tourists from Greece is a challenge’
Being in Athens on the occasion of the 3rd World Company Sport Games gave Minister Brunel the opportunity to explore the possibilities for future tourism collaborations.
According to statistics from the Mexican federal government, the number of Greek travelers to Mexico City had reached 3,483 in 2019. The state of Guanajuato that year received a mere 10 Greek nationals.
“It is a challenge to bring Greek tourists to Guanajuato,” the minister said, referring to the absence of direct flights between Greece and Mexico.
Right now, to get to Guanajuato from Greece, travelers must first fly to Frankfurt, take a connecting flight to Mexico City and then take a one-hour flight to the state of Guanajuato.
Although the lack of a direct flight to Mexico may be discouraging for the Greek traveler, the minister insists that despite the long journey, visitors will see that it it worth it once they arrive in Guanajuato.
“Sometimes its hard to get to the nicest places in the world… Once you are in Guanajuato, just relax and we’ll take care of you,” he said with a smile.
The minister went on to add that Guanajuato does attract European travelers, including Germans, French, Spanish, Italians, Brits and also Turkish and Slovenians.
And while a direct flight from Athens to Guanajuato is not on the scope at the moment, the state of Guanajuato is in talks on securing one from either Frankfurt, Madrid or Paris.
“We would like to bring in more European visitors and that’s why we are trying to bring a direct flight into Guanajuato international airport… Hopefully in the next years… It is a long journey and if we were to cut four hours traveling time then we would be more appealing as a destination for more Europeans,” Minister Brunel added.
‘We take tourism very seriously’
Guanajuato has become from being ranked 29th economy of Mexico to the 6th. This growth has made it one of the most dynamic states in Mexico.
Tourism is one of the four pillars that Guanajuato bases its economy on as it follows manufacturing, agriculture and leather industry (shoemaking). The most important industry clusters in Guanajuato include automotive, textiles, food processing, information technology and logistics.
With regard to tourism, the sector represents 8.9 percent of Guanajuato’s GDP and accounts for some 200,000 jobs. The state of Guanajuato takes its tourism industry very seriously and monitors the sector through its UNWTO-recognized Tourism Observatory.
“One of our priorities is to understand what is happening in the tourism sector… The observatory gives us a very good lead on what the interest of tourists are now,” Minister Brunel said.
“Our survey says that a traveler will go anywhere in the world moved by at least two interests, meaning that it could be gastronomy, culture, eco tourism of business… Once you land in Guanajuato it’s our job to show the traveler all the other tourism forms we have,” he added.
Getting to know Guanajuato
Guanajuato is one of the 32 states of the Mexican Republic and, according to Minister Brunel, very conveniently located geographically right in the middle of the country.
The state is divided into 46 municipalities.
“These are outstanding tourist cities internationally renowned like San Miguel de Allende or our capital city – Guanajuato city – and of course we have developed through time in the past 30 years,” he said.
The state of Guanajuato offers fascinating experiences to its visitors: two cities declared World Heritage sites by UNESCO, five important archaeological zones, six picturesque Magical Towns, exciting tourist routes, and an extensive calendar of events.
Travelling through Guanajuato means going deep into the Mexican identity. It means discovering its history and also enjoying its authenticity, its dynamic cultural life, and the exciting activities available.
“We are the birthplace of Mexican independence so we have alot of things that have happened prior colonization as the previous inhabitants of the area have already set their footprints,” Minister Brunel said.
For more on the state of Guanajuato, press here.