Nayarit Unveils a New Travel Promotion Campaign
At 2023 Gala event, the state announces plan to focus on experiential and sustainable tourism
An international airport and superhighway, a push to increase visitation to four inland “magic towns,” and an expansion of tourism in a historic port city: These were major takeaways from the largest travel-industry event in Mexico’s Pacific region, the Gala Riviera Nayarit-Puerto Vallarta 2023.
Held February 16 and 17 at the Vidanta Convention Center in newly branded Nuevo Nayarit (formally Nuevo Vallarta), the 28th edition of the annual event aimed at showcasing new infrastructure, tourism products and attractions. Meeting planners, wholesalers, hotel and airline executives attended the event, along with local and foreign media.
Hosted by the state of Nayarit and its governor, Miguel Angel Navarro Quintero, the Gala event announced the state’s new promotional campaign. Looking beyond the sun-splashed Riviera Nayarit and its Blue Flag-certified beaches, the campaign targets a wide range of sustainable activities, including visits to coffee plantations, cooking classes with local chefs, birding, mountain biking, hiking volcanoes, whale watching in the winter months, and exploring the Pueblos Magicos rich in history and culture.
Alliances forged at the meeting will benefit the destination throughout the year. Travel wholesalers and tour operators will help to fill the more than 40,000 hotel rooms in the region, bringing visitors to both Nayarit and Jalisco. More than 70 travel agencies from Mexico, Canada, Spain and the United States attended the meeting.
Expansions in Infrastructure
Juan Enrique Suarez del Real Tostado, secretary of tourism for Nayarit, reported on the progress of the high-speed autopista highway linking Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. In March, he said, a large section “will connect Bucerias in the south to Las Veras further north. The completion of the highway in 2024 will allow fast travel from our smaller towns in Nayarit to our beaches.”
In the Nayarit state capital of Tépic, expansion of the new airport will enable international flights from Canada as soon as next year. “San Blas receives a lot of tourism from British Colombia and Alberta in the winter months, so look for West Jet to arrive at the newly renovated Tepic Airport,” said Richard Zarkin, Riviera Nayarit’s public relations director.
Marketing Magic Towns
Nayarit’s Pueblos Magicos are Cospostela, Jala, Mexcaltitán and Sayulita. These “magic towns” have taken care to preserve their historic sites and cultural richness. The striking town of Jala, for instance, is located at the foot of El Ceboruco volcano. In this 17th-century hamlet, you’ll find fascinating churches and homes painted in a kaleidoscope of blue, green, brown, red and yellow palettes.
“We want to create a route of pueblos magicos with local experts showing people around,” said Juan Enrique Suarez Del Real Tostado. If one town is famous for a special bread or cookies, we want people to come and learn to make the local food. We will also invest in more trails for hiking as we have great things to do outdoors.”
San Blas and Islas Marias Islands
Preserving the rich heritage of San Blas is also in the state’s plans. The historic Spanish port city has deep historical ties with California. The Spanish Conquistadores departed from here to discover the bays of California. A hillside fort and customs house, along with the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, date back to 1769. Nowadays, people come more for unspoiled beaches and local seafood, including red snapper Zerandeado, grilled over wood-fired charcoals.
As the terminal for ferries to the Islas Marias archipelago, San Blas will see a significant increase in tourism. Once the nation’s most feared prison, “Mexico’s Alcatraz” now serves as an eco-tourism destination operated by hotel developers Grupo Vidanta. Natural coral reefs create excellent conditions for snorkeling and diving. A plethora of birds, including the rarely spotted yellow-headed parrot, will attract birdwatching aficionados.
With its new emphasis on sustainable experiences and encounters, Nayarit is riding high on Mexico’s next wave of tourism. www.rivieranayarit.com, www.visit-mexico.mx