Puerto Vallarta’s economy was hit so hard by the coronavirus, a worldwide pandemic, that it is estimated recovery will take three to five years. This is according to estimates by specialists in the field who participated in a webinar organized by the Center for Studies Strategies for the Development of the University of Guadalajara.
Hotels in Puerto Vallarta are practically completely closed and thousands of tourist service providers are unemployed. It is not yet known when tourist activity will return to normal.
Foreign tourists remain afraid to travel, or unable to travel due to restrictions in their country, but they are expected to gradually begin visiting Puerto Vallarta again. But when?
“The gradual reopening of Puerto Vallarta is forecast to begin June 1. The natural market for that four-month period is national tourists, they will be the target market during the beginning of June, and we must be aware that demand is contracted, so when we resume the rates and packages to be offered we must do them with attractive prices, but without squandering the destination ”, the hotel businessman Marcelo Alcaraz said.
The hotel industry is no longer going to be the same, the COVID-19 marks a before and after. From check-in and check-out, to the decoration of hotels and cleanliness, all things that will change forever in the aftermath of the pandemic.
“In rooms, decoration is rethought where less is more: cleaning, disinfection, and sanitation with hospital grade. Our housekeepers will carry protective equipment, the ‘check-in’ will tend to be done through web pages, generating an electronic key by cell phone.
The reception will have protective equipment; in food and beverages the healthy distance continues. Buffets are suspended and room service is privileged. This is only an outline of the great transformation that the hospitality will have. The new norm is that all processes minimize the interaction between guests and collaborators,” reported Alcaraz González.
Obviously, the governments of Jalisco and Mexico must include in their budget an international advertising campaign to recover that level of preference for their tourist destinations.
“We are focusing on two major issues: health, tourists are afraid to travel because they have a fear of being infected. The second issue is to offer travelers peace of mind with radical changes in the operation processes, through a protocol that we must implement as a tourist destination, and that not only includes the hotel industry but also restaurants, tours, transporters, airports, shopping centers and beaches ”.
At the virtual webinar meeting “Tourist cities before Covid-19. A vision from Puerto Vallarta” it was insisted that for travel, even if the health emergency passes, it will have to be considered a certification of visitor protection protocols and that the complexity goes beyond a health crisis.
“Much of the global hotel sector is bankrupt; but they are not posing all these things, and the worst thing is that behind the pandemic comes the worst of the economic crises, possibly the most severe,” warned the director of the Center for Studies for Sustainable Tourism Development (Cedestur), Alfredo César Dachary.
A researcher from the University Center of the Coast, Ángeles Huízar Sánchez stressed that the strategy to revive tourism and the economy should be discussed in depth.
“We have two quarantines, which happens in the tourist area, but also the other quarantine, that of the local population, where conditions force them to go out to find a living. I do not have a conclusion, it is talking about local, national tourism, going back to nature.”
José Luis Cornejo Ortega reiterated that one of the main teachings of this pandemic is the relationship between the environment, tourism and health.
“To design future scenarios we must use the prospective that it is not only to analyze trends, it is to set a goal in the future and work in the present to achieve it. Puerto Vallarta is before the opportunity to lead the smart tourist destinations in Mexico, we only have two, Cozumel and Tequila. Tourism will be intelligent and circular, taking intelligence not only as adaptation to technology but also care for the environment,” he concluded.