MIAMI — Mexican tourism officials met with cruise lines here after three ships skipped stops in Puerto Vallarta after violence broke out between drug cartels and police earlier this month on the road between Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco.
Jalisco’s Minister of Tourism, Enrique Ramos Flores, the Tourism Director of the City of Puerto Vallarta, Oscar Perez, the Director of the Mexican Tourism Board for North America, Rodrigo Esponda and the Directors of Security for the State of Jalisco and the City of Puerto Vallarta met with Michele Paige, President of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), and representatives from leading cruise lines including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival and Disney to discuss enhancements to operations in the destination.
During the meeting here, all parties agreed to improve and increase communications to ensure the cruise lines are kept better informed and receive updates in real time about the destination. Enhancements to the security at Puerto Vallarta’s marina will be implemented to ensure the cruise lines know the whereabouts of all passengers who go ashore.
An average of 65% of cruise line passengers who disembark in Puerto Vallarta choose to explore the area unescorted. The City of Puerto Vallarta will work with local tour operators, taxi drivers and other tourism service providers to employ new measures that inform the ships of their passengers’ location.
This week Disney, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruises did not make the last stop of their seasonal route in Puerto Vallarta as scheduled due to “conflicting and inaccurate reports about events that occurred on May 1 in the destination”, according to officials.
Carnival Cruises has been calling on Puerto Vallarta as scheduled and Norwegian Cruises made an unscheduled call on Puerto Vallarta on Tuesday May 5. Both cruise lines have been running tours and excursions in the destination as planned. Currently, Carnival Cruises is the only cruise line operating a weekly scheduled call in the destination which is entering summer season.
All cruise ship calls to Puerto Vallarta have been and are expected to continue as scheduled.
“The unfortunate events that took place in Puerto Vallarta and other areas in the state of Jalisco on Friday morning May 1 were quickly contained and resolved. No harm came to any residents or visitors to Puerto Vallarta and no disturbance, restriction or limits affected tourists in the area. All tourism infrastructure and services including the cruise ship terminal, marina, airport, convention centre, hotels and resorts, tours and ground transport remained fully operational,” said Mexican officials.
Hotel occupancy has been running at an average of 80% in Puerto Vallarta since October 2014; according to the Mexico Ministry of Tourism and Puerto Vallarta was operating at 95% full during the long holiday weekend between May 1-4. The North American Travel Journalist Association (NATJA) Annual Conference was held in Puerto Vallarta May 4-9 and the city hosted over 140 American and Canadian travel writers, editors, bloggers, photographers and videographers.