Tequila Leaders: Interview with Araceli Alvarez, Tequila Tourism Director

por Sauza Team | Nov 14, 2023 10:36:52 AM

We interviewed the Director of Tourism of Tequila, Araceli Álvarez, who shared insights about the exciting plans that Tequila, a "Pueblo Mágico" (Magical Town), has for its visitors.

tequila-turismo-direccion-araceliInterviewer: Who is Araceli Álvarez?

- Araceli Álvarez (Tourism Director of Tequila): My story in Tequila began 30 years ago. I studied tourism at the University of Guadalajara when I arrived in Tequila. Along with other girls from the team, we conducted a tourism inventory. Then, I fell in love with Tequila, a place where I have been living for 30 years, doing tourism-related activities. First, as a student, I worked in a museum in Sauza called "Museo de los Abuelos," I also started with a small module at the entrance of the presidency to give information and pedestrian tours. These tours were the first ones offered, and they were to Sauza.

Interviewer: What does being part of Tequila mean to you now?

- Araceli Álvarez: I got to see the film, live in it, and be part of everything that has been Tequila's tourist life. Witnessing when the first factories were opened to tourism and living when not, tours were offered. I was also part of some of the most critical moments when Tequila was named "Pueblo Magico" in 2003. Another of the moments I remember is the beginnings of the Tequila Route, when they called the "agave landscape" and the old facilities a World Heritage Site, seeing when there was nothing touristy and now there is a lot. I am currently in the governmental part with the Direction of Tourism. I studied for a degree in Tourism, I am a Tourist Guide, and I have an agency for tourist tours. I started with all this when the tours were still pedestrian. 

Interviewer: What activities does the Tourism Board offer visitors to Tequila?

- Araceli Álvarez: We have a significant number of activities. We are also the window of attention of the City Hall to all tourists, government visitors, social tourism, reporters, and people who come to make a promotion or presentation. We are the first link and information.

We are also in charge of organizing transportation companies, promoters, and tour guides, and we are the training liaison for all the tourism service providers that work and live here in Tequila: hotels, restaurants, etc.

Interviewer: How would you describe the magical town of Tequila?

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- Araceli Álvarez: Tequila is a fascinating place. 99% of the people who visit it are enchanted. And I mean to know it well, not just superficially. Everything related to Tequila will always be paramount because not only is the drink produced, but this Magic Town bears the name of the drink.

The main attraction of Tequila will always be its name, and what makes it remarkable is that people leave happy and know there is much more than the drink. We call it "the other Tequila''.

The other Tequila is the Barranca, the Volcano, the waterfalls, museums, a tour of legends, its landscape, temples, and its mushroom picking tours (which are between August and September). Everything that is the other Tequila is what makes it more incredible. Also, it is the name of the most essential drink in Mexico and one of the most important in the world.

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Interviewer: Share with us some anecdotes that you have experienced in this trajectory. 

- Araceli Álvarez: The first anecdote is the visit of a Dutchman who started a Mexican restaurant in Holland. He began to visit Tequila every year to look for street and restaurant recipes. This person fell in love with the town of Tequila. We became friends. He was the best man at my wedding, and he said he loved this land so much that his first daughter would be named Mayahuel - the name of the goddess of Tequila. When his wife became pregnant, we took them to the Tequila lookout point to see the canyon. It was rainy weather, and he said: "Tequila, I present to you my daughter Mayahuel." at that moment, lightning struck the bottom of the ravine. It was impressive!

Another story is one of love. I attended 20 years ago to a person from India. He was working in the United States. He was a captain of a ship but of Indian origin. When he came to Tequila, he liked it very much, and I suggested spending the night here. Later, I met him and, accompanied by one of my best friends, I introduced her to him. They fell in love and married. They had two weddings, a Mexican one in Tequila and another in India on top of elephants. Being part of these stories excites you, and they are the other events in your work.o.

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Interviewer: How would you describe Sauza?

- Araceli Álvarez: My first love in Tequila was Sauza. I fell in love with its founders, especially with Don Javier Sauza. I started working at the Grandparents' Museum and with the tours at the factory and the Quinta... So, talking about Sauza is an essential part of Tequila's history. In 1873, Don Cenobio Sauza was one of the defenders of Tequila against "El Tigre de Alica," a guerrilla named Manuel Lozada. Just imagine!

Sauza is one of the most significant factors in Tequila's history. It is an integral part of the history of this town. It also has one of the most beautiful Quintas we have. There is also a museum with part of the family's history, and the Sauza name weighs heavily in Tequila.

It also has one of the most essential tours we have here, and I think it's cool that such an old building is combined with such a modern process as Sauza has. They have a rounded product because visitors are encouraged to visit an agave field. It is one of the star products of Tequila and the Tequila Management.

Interviewer: You told us that you worked at Sauza. Tell us about that experience.

- Araceli Álvarez: I worked at Sauza from 1993 to 1995, I was 23 years old. We did a tour that included a visit to the Grandparents' Museum, then to the factory, the Quinta Sauza, and ended with a Mexican show, it was a whole day. We were three people and we worked for Guillermo Erickson Sauza, we proposed this tour to him and we were able to take ten buses a week. There was no local guide as such, so we learned from different workers of the company who explained to us the distillation, the presentation, etc. We learned a lot. We learned a lot. We also invited other young people who supported us when so many people came to visit. So, it can be said that Sauza was one of the first to bet on tourism in Tequila when it was seen as a distant dream.

Interviewer: What projects do you have for the future?

- Araceli Álvarez: We want to promote accessible tourism. For example, a few days ago, we visited Sauza, where they showed us the development of ramps and services for people with disabilities. This is very important for us, so we are working on it now.

Interviewer: Where can visitors find out more about visiting Tequila?

- Araceli Álvarez: We are currently working on the website https://www.descubretequila.com/. So far, we are sharing the destination's brand with a cultural twist.

We have a tourist information module if you are already in the Municipality of Tequila. It is outside the Municipal Presidency. So, we invite you to follow us on social networks to learn about the new projects we will develop for you.

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