Making Magic In Nayarit
The 28th edition of Gala Nayarit, the largest tourism event on the Mexican Pacific Coast, opened at Vidanta World in Nuevo Nayarit on Feb. 17, 2023 and Steve Gillick was on hand to cover the event for Press Today.
Gillick reports that after a number of opening remarks from officials representing Puerto Vallarta, Bandaras Bay and the State of Jalisco, the Gala was officially opened by the Minister of Tourism for the State of Nayarit, Juan Enrique Suarez Del Real Tostado.
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Minister Suarez spoke about various matters affecting Nayarit.
The whole idea of sustainability is to ensure a better environment, better use of resources, and preservation of nature. It should result in a better life for the locals. They should be able to realize the richness of tourism for their own lives. So, all parties need to work together at their respective levels.
The number of visitors pose a challenge to the sustainability and it’s up to the local and federal governments to develop better water treatment facilities so that “waste water” can be re-used.
But visitors are also responsible for the destination and the regions they visit in terms of being aware of the issues involving nature.
In addition, the local and federal government are working together to enforce the laws regarding development of properties. There is a need for stricter application of the law and the rules for building high rises. (especially buildings over 25 storeys)
Suarez noted that currently the beaches in Nayarit are either certified for safety by Playa Limpias or the Blue Flag Award system that monitors environmental, educational, safety and accessibility factors. Ten beaches are monitored by Blue Flag. By 2025 the State’s goals are to have 35 new Blue Flag plus more Playa Limpias-monitored beaches, to keep Nayarit’s standing as having more certified beaches that any other destination in Mexico.
The Nayarit government is making changes to Magic Towns to make them more meaningful not only to tourists but to the locals in the towns. Everything from new roads, painting buildings, certification for taxi drivers to allow them to provide guided tours (and to train them for those tours), will help to improve the overall experience.
“When you have the ‘will”, everything is easy,” said Suarez. He continued to explain that Nayarit wants the Magic Towns to be an inclusive experience for everyone involved. And that the locals have to see the benefit of maintaining the tourism potential in each town. He used the example of someone throwing trash on the street and that now, policemen would be trained to at least reprimand the guilty party as part of the education process.
Marketing Campaign Moving Forward
The goal is to connect tourism and nature. People tend to just come to the all-inclusives. A new highway is scheduled to be completed in 2024 to allow tourists to connect to Nayarit cities along with culture and nature. Town specializations will be emphasized e.g., bread making, cookie baking, clothing, handicrafts. The idea being that a tourist can come to a local home and make cookies and learn about the history of the town too.
There are 132 Magic Towns in Mexico with 4 in Nayarit, each with its own unique products.
But there are under-used nature/hiking trails, and many visitors don’t know that Nayarit has volcanoes and waterfalls. By the end of 2023, programs will be put in place to offer and promote workshops on nature, plus improved roads will provide better access to hiking trails.
“Tourist Hosts” (tour guides) will be trained to offer 2-hour walking tours in the downtown core of Nayarit cities. They will cover the mercado, the main church(es) etc. “We have the products — we are trying to make the connections”.
The plans are to put 100 more police cars (with policemen) in place. Currently, according to Minister Suarez, Nayarit is the most secure beach destination in Mexico.
One reason why the name was changed from Nuevo Vallarta to Nuevo Nayarit is to emphasize that “we are not the same as Jalisco.” (An alert in Puerto Vallarta does not mean there is also an alert in Nuevo Vallarta). “It was very important to change the name,” the minister said.
How Important is Canada
Canada provides the second most visitors. Many live here for 6 months of the year. Canadians have a reputation for helping the community. For example, in Chacala, casual bird watching has turned into a festival to celebrate birds in the area, organized by Canadians.
The Ambiance of Nayarit
Nayarit is the Jewel of Mexico, according to Suarez. Volcanoes, waterfalls, beaches, whales in November/December, the most migratory birds in Mexico, crocodiles, the Mangrove boat ride in San Blas.
Nayarit is culture, nature, gastronomy, beaches, magic towns. Mariachi originated in Nayarit. The Birria (a Mexican braised meat dish) originated in Nayarit. We have pyramids and petroglyphs.
You put all these things together and you have Nayarit.