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Walkability in the Historic City of Oaxaca, Mexico

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The renovation of traditional events to suit contemporary demands carries important benefits for the hosting cities, such as the increase in the number of visitors, and the differentiation of destinations and urban spaces that are apparently similar for potential tourists. However, street events attract a considerable number of visitors that are concentrated in a very limited space for a short stay. Especially in historic cities with large number visitors, the so-called tourist-historic cities, events contribute to the commodification of public space, overcrowding, and overuse of certain public spaces and heritage assets during a very short period. Thus, the walkability of this urban area plays a key role in visitors' satisfaction and experience. This article explores the perceptions of tourists in relation to walkability in the streets of the city center of Oaxaca, Mexico, during the celebration of the Guelaguetza Festival. The city center of Oaxaca was included in UNESCO's World Heritage List and is one of the most visited urban destinations in Mexico, while the Guelaguetza is the most popular annual event in the city for national and international visitors. A mixed methodology was developed based on direct observation of tourists walking along the streets of central Oaxaca and the application of a questionnaire. The questionnaire focused on personal aspects and external aspects that affect the desire to walk, such as safety, cleanliness, traffic congestion, and pollution. The results showed relevant differences according to the visitor's background and allowed to suggest some urban improvements to increase visitors' satisfaction. Urban design to achieve a more walkable city is closely related to the success of street festivals and should be included in the early stages of an event's design.

Keywords: CULTURAL EVENTS; HISTORIC CITY; URBAN TOURISM; WALKABILITY; WORLD HERITAGE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 18, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Event Management, an International Journal, intends to meet the research and analytic needs of a rapidly growing profession focused on events. This field has developed in size and impact globally to become a major business with numerous dedicated facilities, and a large-scale generator of tourism. The field encompasses meetings, conventions, festivals, expositions, sport and other special events. Event management is also of considerable importance to government agencies and not-for-profit organizations in a pursuit of a variety of goals, including fund-raising, the fostering of causes, and community development.
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