Puerto Vallarta Welcomes Record-Breaking Visitors

Image: Puerto Vallarta not only recovers favorably after the pandemic, but exceeds 2019 in the number of arrivals of tourists. (Photo via American Queen Voyages). ((photo via American Queen Voyages))
Image: Puerto Vallarta not only recovers favorably after the pandemic, but exceeds 2019 in the number of arrivals of tourists. (Photo via American Queen Voyages). ((photo via American Queen Voyages))
by Valentín Fuentes
Last updated: 4:00 PM ET, Thu September 22, 2022

Puerto Vallarta, located in the Mexican Pacific, is one of the best examples of the recovery of the tourism industry after the pandemic in Latin America. Luis Villaseñor, Director of Tourism Promotion Trust of Puerto Vallarta (Fideicomiso de Turismo Puerto Vallarta), says that in this destination there is no longer talk of recovery but of growth, thanks to the extraordinary arrival figures for both domestic and international tourists.

"We are breaking the record for domestic and international passenger arrivals. In August we were 38 percent up, compared to the same month in 2019, in terms of international arrivals," Villaseñor told TravelPulse. According to the promoter of this important tourist destination, North America has been the main engine of making this tourism boom possible.

"The United States accounts for more than three-quarters of international visitors, and just over one-quarter come from California. Los Angeles is the city that carries the most passengers, followed by San Francisco, and the nation's third-largest city is Chicago." After the U.S., Canada is the second-largest country sending tourists to Puerto Vallarta.

The strategy implemented by Mexican authorities to keep borders open during the pandemic benefited the industry by maintaining the frequency of flights from U.S. and Canadian cities. "Since the beginning of last year we have all our routes reinstalled with the U.S., and with Canada this year we managed to collect the 14 cities that fly directly to Puerto Vallarta," Villaseñor says. The tourist manager in Puerto Vallarta explains that this is the Latin American destination that connects the largest number of cities directly.

The region of Puerto Vallarta is home to about 30,000 Americans and Canadians, which, according to the official, proves the excellent perception of security at the destination. "We have green and pink police, for the LGBTQ+ community; we are the leading destination in this segment in Latin America." In addition, he says Puerto Vallarta has tourist offices to help the expatriates and the LGBTQ+ community, offering assistance with bilingual advice and a prosecutor's office.

Retirement Wellness Tourism and a Sustainable Airport

The tourist strategy of this destination includes the development of lodging facilities for national or international elderly looking to retire in Puerto Vallarta and taking advantage of the good infrastructure of its hospitals.

"This year we are boosting retirement wellness tourism. There are two profiles of retirees: those who are physically active and change their residence, and those retirees with chronic degenerative diseases or mobility problems who are looking for places with better weather and a pleasant vacation experience," says Villaseñor, highlighting that many retirement facilities have pools, aerobics, nutritionists, 24-hour doctors, and walks in the city center, among others. "For many foreigners living, for example in Milwaukee, where the weather is very extreme, Puerto Vallarta is a great place."

Another part of the strategy is the renovation of Puerto Vallarta International Airport, with a significant investment to make it the first air terminal in Latin America to meet net-zero standards collecting rainwater, and the installation of solar energy panels to supply light to the terminal, as well as geothermal solutions to cool and heat water and the different spaces of the terminal.

According to Luis Villaseñor, 2022 will be very important for Puerto Vallarta in terms of tourist influx. "We expect more than 100 million users at Puerto Vallarta International Airport and an occupancy above 75 percent, versus 71 percent in 2019."


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Valentín Fuentes

Co Editor - Mexico & Latin America

Valentín Fuentes is a journalist who, over three decades of professional work, has ventured into various areas of communication...

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