The resort town of Puerto Vallarta draws more LGBT tourists than any parts of Mexico. With a booming gay tourism, the local government just deepened its commitment to making Puerto Vallarta even more welcoming and inclusive than it already is.
While Mexico has long been viewed as an LGBT haven, Puerto Vallarta lies at the heart of the country's LGBT friendliness. The resort town boasts a bustling gay scene replete with Mexico's "official gay neighborhood" La Zona Romantica, a gay beach and LGBT-friendly hotels, restaurants and bars. Just when it looked like things couldn't get any more colorful in Puerto Vallarta, Mayor Arturo Dávalos Peña opened the Office of Gender Equality early April.
According to Vallarta Daily, the office came at the request of the LGBT community in the resort town. The office will serve LGBT visitors as well as provide guidance and support in ensuring "a more peaceful and inclusive Puerto Vallarta, a support that is very necessary for everyone." The mayor also reminded the locals that, "Puerto Vallarta is today a city where we consider the respect for differences through dignified, respectful and equal treatment for all people, regardless of nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity to be of primary concern."
In line with this goal, the town's tourism board will also provide sensitivity training for local hotels and tour agencies, according to Lonely Planet. The measures enacted consolidates Puerto Vallarta's reputation as an international LGBT-friendly destination. In keeping with the sweeping LGBT movement last year, the resort town also legalized same-sex marriage and wedded about 42 same-sex couples.
Genaro Mendoza Cruz, president of the Association of Commerce and Tourism of the LGBT community, celebrated the fact that Mexico drew 2.9 million LGBT visitors in 2016 and that each visitor injected $765 to the economy. It made up 10 percent of the country's tourism with an even higher percentage for Puerto Vallarta. Cruz agreed that the new measures will do well for Puerto Vallarta as an LGBT-friendly destination.