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Vallarta seeks to win back gay tourism crown

April 24, 2013

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Puerto Vallarta wants to reclaim its reputation as Mexico’s most gay-friendly destination, the city’s Tourism Secretary Carlos Gerard announced this week.

The Pacific resort has long catered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) visitors, but Gerard believes this sector was “neglected” due to “political posturing” by the previous municipal administration headed by Eduardo Gonzalez Resendiz of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

According to a study by Out Now Global, in 2011, Vallarta was the favored destination of  24 percent of LGBT tourists from the United States, who number around 15 million people each year. But last year this figure dropped to just 14 percent, below Mexico City – the only place in the country to have legalized same-sex marriage – which drew 17 percent of LGBT tourists, and the mega-resort of Cancun, which drew 25 percent.

With Gonzalez having been replaced as mayor by Ramon Guerrero Martinez of the more liberal Citizen’s Movement, Gerard hopes Vallarta can now win back its LGBT crown. His office has begun to meet with travel agencies in Vallarta to work on specialist packages and promote a more gay-friendly environment.

The LGBT sector is more important than ever to Vallarta, because of the recent drop in cruise ship tourism, Gerard said. Some 300 cruise ships docked in Vallarta in 2008, but this had fallen by half to 152 in 2012 and this year just 80 ships are expected to visit the resort. This trend is part of a wider decline in cruise ship tourism along the Pacific coast, with Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan also suffering due to the global economic crisis and safety concerns specific to Mexico.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. bytownboy permalink
    May 3, 2013 19:12

    Vallarta has a lot of hurdles to overcome to become the gay destination of choice again. The beaches aren’t that great, the humidity is unbearable in peak tourist months and peddlers and business owners are obnoxious and aggressive. The city just isn’t keeping pace with the expectations and tastes of younger gay travelers, who are less interested in tequila and cheap trinkets sold by bothersome and relentless beach peddlers than the older crowd. Even that’s a handicap: Vallarta has a reputation as a retirement town for senior citizens and alcoholic gringos. It’s going to be a lot of work to rebrand the whole Jimmy Buffet Wasting Away in Margaritville image.

  2. MexicoNOTSafe permalink
    May 11, 2013 03:31

    PVR is also not as Safe as it used to be
    \I have been there 10x and on my last 2 week vacation there I left on my 3rd day
    There were about 5 Hotel room broken into – yet the hotel insisted no one was broken into
    I lost cash, my cell and even the beer in the fridge
    The Local police were the ones and seen doing the break in and stealing items
    I had the assistance of the Canadian Consulate to seek help leaving the country they advised me PVR was not safe for me as I reported the problem

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