The state of Jalisco on Mexico’s Pacific Coast is aiming to broaden its tourism product with new developments in Costalegre and a continuation of the federal government’s Magic Towns program. Minister of Tourism Germán Ralis and Promotion Director Rocío Lancaster stopped by our New York offices to share the organization’s latest plans.
“We are developing a completely new brand on the coast,” says Ralis of Costalegre, a stretch of relatively untouched coast that’s been drawing increased attention in recent years, attaining 98 percent hotel occupancy over the holidays.
Plans call for new highway development to make getting around easier, and Lancaster says officials are having “conversations” about an airport in the area, which would mark Jalisco’s third and make the state the only one in Mexico to have three airports. That project would involve the development of a preexisting small airport into one capable of handling tourist traffic.
“It already has a runway and a building, we just have to renovate it,” says Lancaster.
In terms of hotels, officials are looking to double capacity over the next two years, with one highlight being the new Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo that’s set to open in 2020.
Elsewhere in the state, work is continuing on a massive expansion of Puerto Vallarta’s airport – the biggest investment in 20 years – that is expected to more than double the facility’s arrivals capacity. “We saw an opportunity since the project in Mexico City was shut down,” says Lancaster.
Finally, the state is continuing the promotion of Mexico’s Magic Towns, a program that was started by the federal government and that officials hope to continue even in the absence of funding for the national Mexico Tourism Board.
“We’re continuing to support Magic Towns after the end of funding [for the MTB],” says Lancaster, with state funds going to help for the promotion and maintenance of the towns.
There are eight Magic Towns in Jalisco, the newest of which is Tlaquepaque. Part of the Guadalajara metro area, approximately 20 minutes from downtown, it maintains a small town feel, with a great variety of historic, colonial architecture.
“It used to be the country houses of the people of Guadalajara,” says Lancaster.
Today it’s home to one of the most elaborate Day of the Dead celebrations in the Guadalajara area, as well as a thriving arts scene and a wide selection of high-end jewelry shops.