Nayarit Planned Improvements

Like a perfect storm, all the conditions are in place for a major shift in Costa Vallarta’s climate. But we’re not talking weather or bad news, rather, a “good” perfect storm. New leaders at federal, state and municipal levels with a renewed commitment to working together are looking at tourism, a major growth industry in Mexico, as a top priority. With a recently updated Master Urban Development Plan proposed for Costa Vallarta by Fonatur, Mexico’s national trust for the promotion of tourism, the renewed strategic vision shared by the governors of Jalisco and Nayarit, and the endorsement of newly elected president Felipe Calderon, who has tripled Nayarit’s present tourism budget, referring to the region as “thriving, full of energy and vitality when it comes to tourism,” we can expect nothing but clear skies and a sunny outlook when it comes to Costa Vallarta’s viability as a tourist destination.

At first glance, Banderas Bay is simply that: one bay. In actuality, it comprises three different municipalities: Cabo Corrientes and Puerto Vallarta in the state of Jalisco, and Bahía de Banderas in the state of Nayarit. Divided by a river and a state boundary, the bay’s overall ongoing development has been hampered by two state governments that have not always seen eye to eye when it comes to all-encompassing policies developed to foster the bay’s continued development. Fonatur’s previous attempt to implement a similar development plan for Banderas Bay in 2001 also involved the three government levels, the private sector, as well as citizen participation. However, ideological differences between both states’ key players have so far prevented the implementation of a successful medium- to long-term development plan. This should hardly be the concern of tourists, eager to book flights and hotel rooms and enjoy the many attractions Costa Vallarta has to offer, who may not even notice the one-hour time zone difference as they cross the Ameca River bridge from one state to the other. Mexican and international developers and long-term investors, on the other hand, have been patiently waiting for recently appointed tri-level leaders to make their political agendas known to the general public. The answer came to Puerto Vallarta last month.

At the request and with the endorsement of Felipe Calderón, newly elected president of Mexico, a meeting chaired by Federal Tourism Secretary Rodolfo Elizondo took place last month at the Grand Velas hotel, bringing together business leaders from all over Banderas Bay, as well as Nayarit Governor Ney Gonzalez and recently elected Jalisco Governor Emilio González. Also attending was Fonatur Director Miguel Gómez Mont, who presented an updated version of the Master Urban Development Plan for Banderas Bay, which is more in tune with the bay’s current needs. The difference between this plan and the one presented in 2001 had less to do with the plan itself and much more to do with the revitalizing commitment that the players above, plus municipal governments, put forth to work together to implement it.

Three Municipalities, Two States — One Plan, One Agency
The Master Urban Development Plan calls for a new agency, whose role will be to identify the long-term goals of the region, establish and prioritize strategic projects, obtain funding through both national and international investment and banking sources, and implement these goals with tri-level support, acting independently of the two states’ governments. The plan focuses on five specific areas:

Potable Water and Treatment Facilities
To meet the needs of our growing population, as well as the region’s agricultural industry, a dozen new treatment plans throughout the bay are being proposed. Additionally, deep water pools will be tapped by means of new wells, which will in turn distribute water through wider pipes, particularly to Litibú, an area that is experiencing exponential growth.

Roads and Transportation
A new beltway surrounding Puerto Vallarta will greatly alleviate vehicular traffic within the city, while a new highway from the city to Jala, Nayarit, will make travel time to points such as Tepic and Guadalajara much shorter.

Nature Conservation
While the northern side of the bay is being developed with major hotel and real estate developments, the municipality of Cabo Corrientes, south of Puerto Vallarta, has been set aside as an area where nature will dictate development. Ecotourism will be strongly promoted here, and new docks will be created along the bay’s South Shore destinations. Areas already considered protected, such as Los Arcos and the Marieta Islands, will be strongly enforced, while beach-cleaning programs throughout the bay will be prioritized.

Urban Development Planning
At the same time, those areas designed for urban development will be clearly outlined and guidelines established, paying particular attention to the conservation and preservation of the “typical” image of some of the smaller towns along the bay.

Tourism Development Projects
Some of the projects presently taking place around Banderas Bay were designed to serve as catalysts for the ongoing development of Costa Vallarta as a sound tourism and real estate investment destination. These projects include expansion of our Maritime Terminal and airport, a new marina and malecón in La Cruz, as well as a convention center in Puerto Vallarta. Additional developments, such as those taking place in Litibú and El Capomo, the promotion of our destination for conventions and expositions, and the revitalizing of Puerto Vallarta’s El Centro, will further strengthen Costa Vallarta as Mexico’s premier destination.

In short:
• The Master Urban Development Plan for Banderas Bay was delivered personally by Federal Tourism Secretary Rodolfo Elizondo.
• President Felipe Calderón has specifically stated that he wants particular attention devoted to the continued and prosperous development of the state of Nayarit.
• The overall federal tourism budget was increased by 40% by the current administration — Nayarit’s own was tripled.
• Nayarit Governor Ney González, who also chairs the National Governors Conference’s Tourism Commission, has asked recently elected Jalisco Governor Emilio Gonzalez to co-chair the commission. Gonzalez has agreed, confirming a renewed alliance between the states.
• A plan to develop an agency that will autonomously oversee the continued development of the bay within the context of its three municipalities, regardless of state or partisan boundaries, has received enthusiastic support from all involved.
• With the completion of the new marina in La Cruz, our destination will have more boat slips than any other destination in Mexico.
• Two convention centers are presently being developed, strengthening the region’s position as a sound business and cultural destination.
• Airport and road expansion will allow for more fluid movement in, out and through the bay.
• Employment opportunities and overall prosperity for the region will result.

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