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Tourism on the rise in Rocky Point, Mexico and big plans to attract more visitors

On November 28th, 2012 a meeting hosted by Héctor Vázquez del Mercado, President of Puerto Peñasco OCV featured presentations by Sonoran Governor Guillermo Padrés Elías; State Tourism Coordinator Javier Tapia Camou, Puerto Peñasco Mayor Prof. Gerardo Figueroa Zazueta, Navy Ship Captain Jorge Augusto Escamillas Gonzáles, and Miguel Ángel Guzmán Orozco of the local branch of the National Migration Institute (INM) came to Puerto Peñasco to talk about the perspectives and challenges of tourism in Puerto Peñasco.

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Héctor Vázquez began the meeting with a review of Puerto Peñasco tourism statistics 2012 which showed an occupancy rate increase of 16% over 2011, with nearly 1.5 million visitors to the area; an economic influx of 74 million tourism dollars. The summer was the highest tourism season, showing a 25% increase over 2011. Hector stated the importance of improving the city’s connectivity; improving the highway to Caborca, expanding the Mexican Border Point of Entry in Sonoyta, and international commercial flights, as essential requirements in improving the tourism flow to Puerto Peñasco.

Vázquez updated the progress of the international commercial flight connections from Puerto Peñasco to Hermosillo and Las Vegas, NV. Flights will fly three times weekly with an expected start date of March 6th 2013. This air service will be warrantied by a $500,000 reserve fund contributed to by the State of Sonora ($170,000USD), Mayan Palace (165,000USD), area hotel developments, tourist resorts, civil associations (AMPI, Colegio de Arquitectos, CANIRAC, etc.) and business leaders from different areas of the city ($165,000).

State Tourism Director, Javier Tapia Camou, discussed progress on the Home Port project, which will be the first home port in Mexico. Land for the home port was donated to the city by the family of Gustavo Brown. Tapia discussed the financing and federal permitting steps, including recognition of the firm of Bermello Ajamil in the development of the project definition. The project will cost approximately 600 million pesos, and will take an estimated 2.5 years to complete. Funding for the project is included in the federal budget, which is expected to be approved with the approval of the 2013 Federal Budget. If approval occurs as expected, then inauguration and launch of the home port project will begin in the first quarter of 2013. The first phase includes design for a terminal with capacity for a cruise ship measuring 300 meters in length with room to expand with a second dock of the same capacity in the future.

The meeting concluded with a tour of the convention center that is under construction. The convention center is expected to open in June of 2013, and will be operated by the State of Sonora for the first 6 years. This takes a great burden off of the city budget.

Mayor, Prof. Gerardo Figueroa Zazueta, expressed appreciation to Governor Guillermo Padrés Elías’ for his support of the city and the tremendous projects underway.

In his remarks, Governor Guillermo Padrés Elías recognized the efforts of local and state governments in improving tourism, and expressed his full support of Mayor Gerardo Figueroa for the benefit of Puerto Peñasco, and noted that the state’s largest investments in tourism are in Puerto Peñasco.

Padres Elías mentioned there has been tremendous work in getting the project to a federal level in order to get financing. He added they have made important progress with permits from the Secretary of Communications and Transport, as well as work with Congress and the Tax Secretary, explaining the Home Port now has an official file which makes it viable and ready for financing from the Federal Government in 2013. The Governor mentioned that part of the investment resources will also come from the neighboring states of Baja California, Baja California Sur, and Sinaloa, who will also benefit economically from the launch of the “Sea of Cortes” route.

Padres confirmed resources to begin the second phase of the city’s Convention Center during the site visit.

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