Aristóteles Sandoval
Governor of the State
View from the Top

Magical, Inclusive Tourism Destinations

Sat, 12/01/2018 - 14:33

Q: How is the government of Jalisco working with the private sector to ensure the tourism industry's development?

A: In 2013, we reached an agreement called Agenda Única de Competitividad (Sole Agenda for Competitiveness) between the government, the private sector, universities and innovation and research centers. In the case of tourism, we came to the conclusion that the industry has been successful because we employ a trust-deed model, in which taxes from tourism are managed through trusts, such as the Puerto Vallarta trust and the trust for the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara. Thanks to this model, we are experiencing successful growth rates. In Puerto Vallarta, the hotel occupancy rate is 98 percent during the high season and on average, occupancy rates are 71.6 percent during the low season. We have two international airports that are growing above average, behind only Mexico City and Cancun. Very soon, we will have a new port terminal to receive ships and cruises that will further boost Puerto Vallarta’s growth.

Q: How attractive is Jalisco to investors in the tourism industry?

A: In addition to its natural, historic and cultural richness, Jalisco offers the idea of the Mexican personality, tequila and mariachi. We have appealing destinations that do not only sell beach and sun but also mountains. Business tourism also plays an important role; six out of 10 world expos in our country take place in Jalisco. Investment in hotel services has increased almost 30 percent in the last five years and our tourism offering includes boutique hotels and estates and cultural and sports tourism. We also have Lake Chapala, the country’s largest lake, beaches and a varied climate across the state.

Q: Tourism to Jalisco is dominated by US and Canadian visitors. What is the state doing to attract other tourists?

A: It is a complex challenge. There is a large community of Japanese in the El Bajio region and for them the nearest beach destination is Puerto Vallarta. We are working on attracting this community by encouraging people in Puerto Vallarta and Costalegre to learn Japanese, understand their culture and so on. We believe this will help entice more tourists from Japan. With other Asian countries, it has been somewhat complex but we are exploring alternatives.

Q: The federal government has created several promotional campaigns such as Visit Mexico and Mexico, a World in its Own. How does Jalisco participate in this narrative?

A: These campaigns have helped us a lot, attracting investment and support for all our programs. Jalisco has participated in everything the federal government has done for tourism. One success case is the beach at Cuastecomates, a town that promotes inclusiveness for people with disabilities. The town has equipped the beach with specially adapted furniture, accessible bathrooms and signs in braille, among other facilities.

Another program that has worked is a campaign we created alongside the state of Nayarit in 2013, which was called Vallarta-Nayarit. By boosting the region, we have increased our visitor numbers. We are now trying to replicate these efforts with Colima through a regional campaign for Manzanillo-Costalegre. As part of this project, we are planning to change the name of the Manzanillo Airport to Manzanillo-Costalegre Airport. The Mexico Tourism Board and SECTUR have extended their support for all these projects.

Q: How has Jalisco incorporated its Pueblos Mágicos into its tourism offering?

A: We have five Pueblos Mágicos and expect to have more in the coming years. Tequila is one of the most important. It has boutique hotels and world-class spas. Mascota is another Pueblo Mágico. Located in the mountains, it offers unique, magical vistas with a maple forest nearby. Tapalpa is another Pueblo Mágico in the mountains. We have great riches in the state and we want to expand the number of municipalities that qualify as Pueblo Mágico.