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PUERTO VALLARTA ECONOMY
 
    Nearly 50% of the workforce is employed in tourist related industries: hotels, restaurants, personal services, and transportation. The municipality does however continue to have strong agricultural, industrial and commercial sectors.


INDUSTRIES

    Agriculture is especially important in the Ameca valley to the northeast of the city center. Principal crops there include flour corn, sweet corn, dry beans, fresh chile, watermelon and tobacco. Fruit growing operations are more dispersed, with banana farms in the Ameca valley, mango orchards in the low hills, and avocado farms on some of the higher ground above the city.

    There are also significant livestock operations in the Ameca valley, and fishing in the Bay of Banderas is also a significant industry.

    Industrial products include foods and beverages, furniture, and construction supplies. Thirty years of consistent development have given Puerto Vallarta a very strong construction sector which employs nearly 10% of the Puerto Vallarta workforce.

The commercial sector comprises nearly 17% of the workforce, including shipping, trucking, wholesale and retail operations (though the retail sector is probably understated because of the large underground economy in the sector).

    Shipping traffic consists of cruise ships, which arrive almost daily, and occasional visits by U.S. Navy frigates. The Mexican Navy maintains a base at the port, as well as a former naval hospital in the city center, which is now a Naval Museum. Puerto Vallarta is not however very active as a commercial port. Most goods arrive in Puerto Vallarta by truck along the Compostela highway from Guadalajara.

    Tourism and travel represent a large part of Puerto Vallarta, with many rental and accommodations available. While the U.S. economy has created a downturn in overall tourism business, the other markets including Canada and Europe are still quite strong.


TOURISM TRENDS

    Puerto Vallarta was once named as La Ciudad Mas Amigable en el Mundo (The Friendliest City in the World), as the sign reads when entering from Nayarit. Today, the presence of numerous sidewalk touts selling time-shares and tequila render the city's atmosphere more akin to tourist-heavy resorts like Cancun and Acapulco, but overall the city's reputation remains relatively undiminished.

    Tourism makes up roughly 50% of all economic activity in Puerto Vallarta according to puertovallarta.net. The high season for international tourism in Puerto Vallarta extends from late November through March (or later depending on the timing of the College Spring Break period in the USA.) The city is especially popular with US residents from the West Coast because of the number of convenient flights between Puerto Vallarta and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. The air routes between Puerto Vallarta and Los Angeles and Puerto Vallarta and San Francisco are by far the most heavily traveled of all air routes to the city.

    Puerto Vallarta is also a popular destination for domestic tourists. It is a popular weekend destination for residents of Guadalajara (tapatíos), and a popular national destination for vacations such as Semana Santa (the week preceding Easter) and Christmas. Also in recent years Acapulco has experienced a rise in drug related violence and consequently Puerto Vallarta has absorbed a lot of the Mexico City resort vacation business (Acapulco has long been a common destination for tourists from Mexico City).

    Puerto Vallarta has become a popular retirement destination for US and Canadian retirees. This trend has spawned a condominium development boom in the city.

    Rapid growth in tourist volume in Puerto Vallarta has given rise to rapid growth in hotel and rental apartment construction. This growth has spilled over from the city limits into Nuevo Vallarta in the neighboring state of Nayarit. The area is one of the fastest growing regions in the Americas.


GAY COMMUNITY

    Guadalajara and Acapulco were common vacation destinations for gay men and lesbians from Mexico City and, especially, the United States and Canada in the 1980s and 1990s. However, since that time, Puerto Vallarta has developed into Mexico's premier resort town as a sort of satellite gay space for its big sister Guadalajara, much as Fire Island is to New York City and Palm Springs is to Los Angeles.[14] It is now considered the most welcoming and gay-friendly destination in the country, dubbed the "San Francisco of Mexico."[15] It boasts a gay scene, centered in the Zona Romática, of hotels and resorts as well as many bars, nightclubs and a gay beach on the main shore.[15] Puerto Vallarta has been cited as the number one gay beach destination in Latin America.


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