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In a story in El Economista, the president of the Puerto Vallarta delegation of the Employers’ Confederation of the Mexican Republic (Coparmex), Jorge Alberto Careaga, said the current estimate is that it will take three to five years to get back to the visitor numbers and revenue levels of 2019 – when tourism injected some 42 billion pesos (US $1.9 billion) into the economy of the Pacific Coast resort city.
Inegi, a business leader in data reporting, shows that 3,762 tourism sector workers lost their jobs in Vallarta due to the pandemic and associated economic restrictions and In July, only 862 have returned to work.
He is calling for more government help with new strategies to promote Jalisco’s most popular tourist destination.
The recovery of tourism destinations across the country is expected to be slow as many people remain wary of traveling.
The Jalisco government has committed 100 million pesos (US $4.6 million) to efforts to revive tourism in Vallarta while its federal counterpart is optimistic that the new Visit México website will allow tourism promotion to reach new audiences and open new markets.
The website was relaunched last week after some problems in recent weeks.
“For August it was calculated that it would take Puerto Vallarta three to five years to return to the income levels we had in 2019, in which the local economic spill was 42,000 million pesos,” Careaga said.
With Puerto Vallarta heavily dependent on tourism revenue, local business owners say it’s urgent that all levels of government develop new strategies to promote the destination.
Gabriel Igartúa Sánchez, a hotel owner and president of Coparmex’s national tourism commission, said the coronavirus downturn has hit Vallarta so hard that the tourism industry is at “risk of extinction.”
He said that visitor numbers increased slightly in July and August but noted that about 40 hotels are currently closed.
Igartúa said that the start of the new school year last week caused visitor numbers to plummet and forced some hotels to close for a second time this year. He also said that tourism revenue was down about 70% in recent months compared to the same period last year.
Igartúa said the federal government needs to approve additional resources for tourism promotion, explaining that keeping Vallarta at the forefront of the minds of people who live in “our main markets is a very important factor” in attracting them to the destination.
While the resort city is popular with international tourists, most visitors come from Guadalajara, located about 330 kilometers east, and Bajío region states, the Coparmex tourism official said.
In spite of everything, Gabriel Igartúa added, the port has a differentiating factor that other tourist destinations in the country do not have, which is its land connectivity.
“The vast majority of our occupation is generated by the Bajío and Guadalajara areas, and with this land connectivity we have had that differentiating factor that today is not shown in other destinations in our country,” he explained.
However, “today we have lower income by 70% compared to these months last year. Nowadays, keeping ourselves in the minds of our main markets is a very important factor ”, for which he insisted on the urgency for the federal government to allocate resources to promote the destination.
He highlighted that the state government and tourism service providers have optimally used the resources generated by the 3% tax on lodging to promote the destination.