Events such as Carnaval help attract more tourists to Mazatlan. // © 2017 Mazatlan Tourism Board
Feature image (above): The Mazatlan hotel scene is undergoing a refresh. // © 2017 Pueblo Bonito Hotels & Resorts
Hosting Tianguis Turistico, Mexico’s largest international tourism conference, is a big deal for any city. So, it’s no surprise that Mazatlan is gearing up to showcase a variety of upgrades and new features as it welcomes dozens of top-selling wholesalers and travel agents from April 16-19.
Attendees who haven’t been to Mazatlan recently will indeed notice many changes. The 13-mile, waterfront Malecon is undergoing a refurbishment that will make the promenade more welcoming for pedestrians. In addition, other monuments are being restored, and the city’s iconic lighthouse — billed as the world’s tallest such working facility — is also being upgraded.
Mazatlan’s historic city center, meanwhile, has been a focus for investment and restoration for years. Public and private efforts have resulted in architectural rebirth for countless buildings, especially near Machado Plaza, a tranquil city square that serves as a hub for downtown’s cultural activities. Nearby, the beautifully restored, 19th-century Angela Peralta Theater, is one of the city’s most revered landmarks, with a robust calendar of dance, theater and music performances throughout the year. Monthly art walks provide another way for visitors and locals alike to enjoy the neighborhood’s cultural and artistic venues.
Mazatlan’s tourism officials are also celebrating what they say are positive visitation trends. International arrivals in Mazatlan jumped by more than 8 percent in 2017, according to state tourism secretary Marco Antonio Garcia, with an impressive 13 percent increase — for a total of more than half a million tourists — in the summer period alone.
Officials say the arrival of more international nonstop flights has helped boost visitation numbers. In addition, Mazatlan has benefited from positive media coverage. In 2017, for example, Live and Invest Overseas named the city the world’s third-best destination for North Americans to retire, behind Portugal’s Algarve region and Valleta, Malta.
Hotel Growth in Mazatlan
Mazatlan will add a variety of new and refurbished accommodations in the coming years. Among the biggest additions: A new-build, 200-room Courtyard by Marriott is to open in the popular Golden Zone in 2019. And Sleep Inn Mazatlan, near Marina Mazatlan, is expanding its offerings from 72 to 104 rooms, with new construction slated to wrap up in the coming months.
Several existing Mazatlan hotels are pumping money into refurbishments. Pueblo Bonito Mazatlan, in the tourist-popular Golden Zone, recently launched an $18 million renovation project that will refresh the lobby, guestrooms, restaurants, pool and facade. Also in the Golden Zone, the Inn at Mazatlan is in the midst of a major renovation as well; the company also recently opened a property downtown, The Inn at Centro Historico.
One of the destination’s largest hoteliers is El Cid Resorts, which operates properties including El Cid Castilla Beach Hotel, El Cid Marina Beach Hotel, El Cid Moro Beach Hotel and El Cid Granada Hotel & Country Club. The company recently celebrated its new GreenLeaders certification, an award from TripAdvisor that recognizes the organization’s eco-friendly practices. In addition, El Cid Marina Beach debuted a new spa and gym in 2017.
Mazatlan hosts a number of annual events that are a key part of the destination’s strategy for attracting even more tourists. Among the most attended is Carnaval, the pre-Lenten celebration. Mazatlan’s version is one of the two largest in all of Mexico and will attract thousands of revelers on Feb. 8-13, 2018 for a series of concerts, parades and other events.
Also coming up is International Motorcycle Week, slated for April 4-8, with more than 20,000 participants expected; Day of the Dead, which features a parade and other events on Nov. 1 and 2; and the Mazatlan Cultural Festival, which takes place between October and December, with a variety of exhibitions and performances. Tourism industry insiders, of course, will converge in Mazatlan on April 16-19 for Tianguis Turistico. With its extensive series of meetings, presentations and trade show at the Mazatlan International Center, as well as an array of other activities around the city, Tianguis will provide a platform for buyers, sellers and others to witness Mazatlan’s evolution firsthand.