Agustin Alvarez, the Director of the Puerto Vallarta Toursim Board, says the destination is continuing to target a variety of markets, one of the most notable being LGBT travelers, a segment it has long supported. In Alvarez’s view, Puerto Vallarta is a natural fit for LGBT travelers. “Puerto Vallarta is an international destination because of the service and friendliness of the local community,” he said. “Walking its center, people feel comfortable, safe, and in Mexico.”
Furthermore, he noted the LGBT community has, for all intents and purposes, become a part of the destination’s cultural fabric. “The LGBT community is welcomed and an integral part of our city because our Zona Romantica, our ‘gayborhood,’ grew with the rest of the destination to be what it is today: a Mexican pueblo with the latest in infrastructure,” he said. “We have partnered with many organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association and the Treatment Action Group to proactively show our appreciation for this natural market for our destination.”
Puerto Vallarta has its sights set on a variety of other markets as well. “This year we are proactively targeting the family travel market, the romance market, boomers and foodies – all markets that are natural to Puerto Vallarta because of all the offering the destinations has for them,” he said.
Moving forward, Alvarez said Puerto Vallarta is negotiating with cruise lines to increase calls during the 2015-2016 season.Business from cruise line continues to grow, said Alvarez, and Puerto Vallarta is projecting a 16 percent increase in scheduled ship calls over 2014.
Overall, business this year has been strong. “Visitor arrivals to Puerto Vallarta are up by almost 200,000,” he said. “The destination has received 860,886 visitors in the first five months of the year. In 2014 we received 669,138 visitors for that period.”Hotel occupancies are also up from 2014. “Puerto Vallarta has had occupancies of 73 percent for the first five months of the year, which is a three percent increase from last year,” he said.
The destination is also continuing to add to its eclectic portfolio of properties. “The Hotel Mousai is our latest opening and our first 5 AAA Diamond property, and we are very excited about that,” Alvarez said, adding that the Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta is scheduled to debut this year as well.
On the airline front, Alvarez said Southwest Airlines will launch daily nonstop flights between California’s John Wayne Airport in Orange County (SNA) and Puerto Vallarta’s international airport on June 18. Pending government approval, the carrier will also introduce service between Denver and Puerto Vallarta on Nov. 15. Additionally, Aeromexico recently inaugurated a number of new flights from Boston, Toronto, Montreal and San Francisco, Alvarez said.
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