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Puerto Vallarta Tourism’s managing director Luis Villaseñor says that Canadians are looking for more authentic experiences like immersive food tours and deeper connections with local culture coming out of the pandemic.
“It’s not just about running away and escaping the winter — we’re seeing growing interest in things like wellness and eco tourism,” he tells Travel Courier, adding that these trends have also resulted in more younger travellers coming to the destination.
Villaseñor says Puerto Vallarta International Airport is on track to welcome 6 million passengers this year, a significant increase over the 5.2 million people recorded in 2018. Canada remains the second biggest international market for the region.
“Passengers are more confident about booking ahead of time,” he says. “We’re seeing around a 15% increase in bookings for next year from the Canadian market.”
All of the key Canadian carriers service the destination, and one of the newest links to debut is Flair Airlines with service from both Vancouver and Edmonton. Notably, an airport expansion is also underway.
“We’re expecting to have a new international terminal in 2024,” he says. “It will be the first net zero terminal in Latin America. It will be a sustainable terminal.”
Not only are arrival figures booming with double digit growth across occupancy rates, he says there’s also an increase in year round visitation.
“We say we’re where Mexico comes to life,” he says. “It’s very cultural. Here they have a chance to experience what Mexico is all about, its colours, its flavours, its traditions.”
Foodies will want to visit Versalles, a neighbourhood in Puerto Vallarta with a thriving and growing food scene.
Recent hotel openings include an expansion at Hotel Mousai with a new south tower adding 72 suites, the Hilton Vallarta Riviera All-Inclusive Resort, which opened in 2021 with 444 suites, and the brand new Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo, which just opened this month with 157 keys.
“Romance is growing in the city like bachelorette/ bachelor parties, proposals, honeymoons. People are more likely to get married during the week because now a lot of people they do remote work,” he adds. “Also multigenerational travel is big.”
For agents who want to become destination specialists, he says there was significant investment made in developing a training program for travel advisors, The Puerto Vallarta Specialist training courses.
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