Mexico’s Next Tourism Project

Top officials reveal Riviera Nayarit plans

By: Lucia Chung

In March at Tianguis Turistico in Acapulco, the Governor of Nayarit, Ney Gonzalez, officially announced the Mexican government’s latest tourism project, the Riviera Nayarit. The government, working in conjunction with the Vallarta Nayarit Mexico Convention and Visitors Bureau and Fonatur, the federal tourism organization, has invested $1.5 billion over the last two years in developing tourism facilities and infrastructure in this area. More money from private investors is expected in the coming years.

The Riviera Nayarit will encompass Banderas Bay and stretch from the Ameca River near Nuevo Vallarta 100 miles north along the coastline to San Blas. It will include the resort areas of Punta Mita and Litibu and will create and expand other areas. As its logo, the destination will adopt the endangered sea turtle decorated with the Huichol tribe’s craft. According to the Visitors Bureau, by focusing on sustainable ecotourism, the Riviera Nayarit will bring the area’s cultural and environmental treasures to the forefront of Mexican tourism.

“A lot of people identify the word ‘Riviera’ with golf, with spa, with luxury, among other things, and we have that. We have five Four-Diamond resorts, five-star hotels, great spas, great golf, a lot of nature and wildlife,” said Richard Zarkin, supervisor of public relations at the Vallarta Nayarit Mexico Convention and Visitors Bureau in an exclusive interview with TravelAge West.

Once development is complete, travelers will be able to access all the destinations in the area, including the virgin beaches along the coast and the archaeological sites of the Aztecs in Mexcaltitan. By the end of this year, the St. Regis Hotel and a new Jack Nicklaus golf course at Punta Mita will be complete. Development plans for the region include 30 more hotels, resulting in 3,000 more rooms in Banderas Bay, 1,000 in Punta Mita, 2,000 in Nuevo Vallarta and Flamingos and 3,800 in newly developed Litibu by 2010.

Besides the boutique hotels, plans for Litibu include a marina, shopping centers, a Greg Norman golf course that opens in December and a helipad. Plans for an airport and further resort development at El Capomo, an area twice as large as Litibu, and a new marina and resort at La Cruz de Huanacaxtle will come in the next decade.

“We plan to make Riviera Nayarit a haven for luxury travel, matchless golf and experiencing our protected ocean and mountain nature and wildlife,” said Marc Murphy, director general of the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau.

To garner North American interest in the destination, Riviera Nayarit is running an online contest called Treasures. Agents and the public will try to name Riviera Nayarit’s newest activities and attractions in order to win a five-day, four-night all-inclusive trips to the new destination courtesy of Marival Resorts and Suites. Entrees will accepted through Aug. 3, and winners will be determined by Sept. 15.

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