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Puerto Vallarta recently took center stage when it hosted Tianguis Turistico 2012, Mexico’s largest travel trade show. Acapulco had hosted Tianguis for a solid run of 36 years so there was an increased level of interest in seeing how Puerto Vallarta fared in its hosting duties, which it shared with Riviera Nayarit. Tianguis attracted 7,500 buyers and sellers of travel. By all accounts this year’s Tianguis was a hit, with attendance up by 75 percent.
Over the last six years, Puerto Vallarta has been busy facilitating an aggressive urban renewal program. An integral part of the effort centers on Puerto Vallarta’s Historic District and the city’s iconic waterfront, or malecon. The aim was to create a safe and pedestrian-friendly public space that provides shade from newly planted trees during the day and a vibrant social center at night, where residents and visitors can enjoy the sea breezes along the promenade. An eye-catching feature is the mosaic paving along the route of the malecon, utilizing a traditional pebble-pavement technique. A Huichol creation myth is depicted by the mosaic, which was created by Jalisco-born artist, Fidencio Benitez. Additionally, the malecon is the site of 22 individually painted wooden fishing boats, or pangas, which are closely linked with the city’s fishing heritage. Twenty-two local artists chose a boat as a canvas to display their own unique take on Puerto Vallarta’s history.
An important hotel investment in Puerto Vallarta was inaugurated at Tianguis when AMResorts announced the opening of two new resorts: Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta and Now Amber Puerto Vallarta. The dual-resort complex is the first new hotel construction in Puerto Vallarta in almost a decade and an investment of $175 million. The new all-inclusive beachfront resorts are located within the Hotel Zone of Las Glorias.
Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, has 271 rooms and suites with 24-hour concierge and room services, a la carte restaurants and lounges serving premium beverages. The resort also features day and evening activities as well as a full-service spa and fitness facilities.
Now Amber Puerto Vallarta offers 331 guestrooms and suites with ocean views and private terraces. Now Amber will cater to couples, friends and families. The resort offers amenities such as wireless Internet access, flat-screen televisions with surround sound systems, daily refreshed minibars, 24-hour room and concierge services, multiple gourmet dining offerings and a full-service spa and fitness facilities.
A third new hotel, the Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort, is scheduled to open in June. The hotel will have rooms and suites with either garden or ocean views. Room amenities include complimentary high-speed Internet access, balconies and generous work services. Hotel features include an outdoor pool in a central courtyard, a Mexican restaurant, a spa, a fitness center and a 16,000-square-foot meeting and banquet space. The hotel is also conveniently located near jogging paths, golf courses and shopping. The Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort is located five minutes south of Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport and 10 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta’s city center.
In addition to the new investments, Puerto Vallarta should benefit from the fact that it was not included in the U.S. Department’s Travel Warning to Mexico. Puerto Vallarta is located more than 1,200 miles from the U.S. and Mexico border, where most of the drug-related violence has taken place. A security/threat assessment study conducted by Thomas Dale & Associates, a leading global investigative and security firm, found that the number of negative events involving foreigners or non-foreigners is fractional compared to the large expatriate resident population and the millions of visitors that come to vacation each year in Puerto Vallarta. The study also found that visitors to the destination feel safe and continue to visit Puerto Vallarta numerous times throughout their lifetimes.