Puerto Vallarta is leading all Mexican destinations in attracting the LGBT traveler. Everything sought by the gay traveler is found here: Exciting nightlife with many well established gay bars and businesses, well developed art galleries, shopping and cultural events like Southside Shuffle and centro historico's ArtWalk, outstanding restaurants and culinary events for every budget, and the fantastic weather found at the Romantic Zone gay beach all combine to make Puerto Vallarta a great year round attraction to the national and international gay community.
However, not all destinations in Mexico are seeing the benefit of the gay spending power. This is in spite of the fact that the gay market generates 166% more income than the traditional market and in 2013 the worldwide gay buying power is $830 Billion dollars(Witeck Communications). Out and Now Consulting, a company specializing in the LGBT consumer, produced marketing and research data indicating Mexico only generated $4.7 Billion Dollars of LGBT tourism dollars in 2014 while Brazil generated $25.3 Billion and the US $56.5 Billion. The average daily spend per person from the LGBT market is $1600 USD compared to the traditional tourist spend of $600 USD (almost 3 times more) according to Mexico Ministry of Tourism studies. Currently Puerto Vallarta and Mexico City are the only Mexican destinations with any infrastructure to attract the gay market at all.
In order for a city to be successful in attracting the gay market like Madrid and Europe, the destination must have constant specific marketing and promotion of specific LGBT events for the destination. Successful Pride events in Madrid generate $50 million euros of economic benefit and Sydney Australia's gay pride attract 80,000 visitors annually.
It is getting better among the PV gay hotels for 2014. “Since December 2013, Casa Cupula, Puerto Vallarta's luxury gay hotel. has had record occupancy every month, in fact the best in 12 years” states Don Pickens, Principal of Milagro Properties. “With improvements in the economy and in airlift capacity to PV after the bankruptcy of Mexicana Airlines, plus new PR efforts by the city to reach the LGBT market, we see improved LGBT tourism across the board. Casa Cupula recently launched a new campaign called Unplug With Us to reinforce their sophisticated and savvy image, and it’s also broken records for reservations and website traffic. Paul Christ, owner of local gay hotel Mercurio reports as of November 1, 2014 year to date occupancy has already exceeded total annual occupancy of 2012 and 2013. The months of August and September 2014 were the highest August and September in the last 5 years.
What is Puerto Vallarta doing to attract more LGBT visitors to the city? Fortunately the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board is marketing specifically to the LGBT traveler. Beginning in 2011, the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board became the first Mexican destination to join the IGLTA. Since then they have sponsored things like the GLAAD Awards to a Puerto Vallarta Day at 2014 World Gay Pride event held in Toronto. People may not be aware but most core press trips brought by the OCV include an LGBT media representative.
Local Puerto Vallarta businesses are promoting the destination and events thru ACT LGBT, the local gay business alliance. Many businesses inside the romantic gay zone have been in major remodel projects, from Almar resorts and its Mantamar beach club to luxury Villa Savana offering same sex wedding celebrations, the little fishing village of Puerto Vallarta has been transformed into a new gay mecca for international sophisticated gay travelers. Puerto Vallarta how far you have come!
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