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Fewer tourists flying to Puerto Vallarta

February 7, 2013

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The number of tourists flying into Puerto Vallarta has dropped significantly over the past five years, the Pacific Airport Group (GAP) revealed this week.

According to GAP figures, 3.1 million tourists came through Vallarta’s Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport in 2007 and again in 2008, prior to the swine flu outbreak which seriously damaged Mexico’s tourist industry in 2009.

The number of visitors flying to Vallarta has since declined by over 500,000 per year, with under 2.6 million coming in 2011 and 2012. This represents a drop of 17.2 percent from 2007 to 2012.

This is largely due to the high cost of flying to Vallarta in comparison with other Mexican coastal resorts. It is often cheaper to fly from Guadalajara or Mexico City to Cancun or Los Cabos than it is to fly to Vallarta, despite the fact that Vallarta lies closer than either of the other destinations.

There are also far fewer commercial flights to Vallarta since Mexicana Airlines stopped operating in 2010.

Aeromexico, which now runs about 50 percent of flights into Vallarta, halved the number of weekly flights from Mexico City from six to three in January, and will further reduce that figure to just two weekly flights in February. Aeromexico will also cut the number of weekly flights from Guadalajara to Vallarta from 24 to 17 in February.

New travel provision for minors put on hold

Mexican authorities have agreed to delay the implementation of an amendment to migration law affecting children traveling without their parents.

The amendment, which was due to come into effect on February 5, stipulates that unaccompanied minors (both Mexican and foreign) leaving or entering the country must carry a letter of permission signed by both parents or their guardian.

However, on Wednesday, Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism and the National Migration Institute agreed to postpone implementation of the new law until January 2014. The deadline was extended to give authorities time to prepare to properly enforce the law and to avoid inconveniencing tourists.

Under the terms of the amendment, as of next January, children will need written parental permission to travel in and out of Mexico, even if accompanied by an adult who is not their parent or guardian. Should they not carry such a letter, airlines and cruise ships will be instructed to refuse to allow them on-board.

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