Mazatlán consolidates as a high-level sports tourism destination
Published by Marimar Toledo | El Sol de Mazatlán on June 12, 2023
Mazatlán, situated in the state of Sinaloa, is solidifying its position as a thriving hub for sports tourism, contributing to the overall diversification and growth of the region’s economy. Tourism has long been a driving force behind Sinaloa’s economy, generating employment opportunities and improving the well-being of its residents. Mazatlán, with its picturesque beaches, rich culture, breathtaking nature, and delectable gastronomy, stands as the primary beneficiary, attracting visitors year-round.
While Mazatlán has traditionally been renowned for its cruise tourism, which raked in an estimated economic benefit of $32 million last year, and charter boat services that generated over 12 billion pesos in profits during peak holiday periods, the city’s sports tourism sector is now making significant contributions to its growth and diversifying the offerings for visitors.
The sports tourism segment in Mazatlán has gained prominence due to professional soccer and baseball seasons, as well as notable events like Motorcycle Week, La Troca, the Triathlon, the Mazatlán Cup, and various children’s soccer and baseball activities. These events alone yielded an economic benefit of at least 2 billion pesos in the past year.
José Gámez Valle, Marketing Director of the Association of Hotels and Tourist Companies of Mazatlán, recalls that Mazatlán attracted high-level sports tourism in the 1980s, particularly in sport fishing and golf. However, due to a lack of nurturing the segment, it gradually lost its appeal to other destinations.
Mazatlán’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez turned it into a paradise for sport fishing, drawing enthusiasts with its abundant marine species like dorado, marlin, and sailfish. Gámez Valle lamented that the best service providers in Mazatlán charge a minimum of $600 for a boat accommodating four people, while larger groups have shifted their attention to destinations like Los Cabos.
Golf also gained traction in Mazatlán, becoming the first coastal destination in Mexico to host groups of golfers. The municipal Campestre field was the first, followed by El Cid and Estrella de Mar. However, golfers eventually gravitated towards Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and Manzanillo.
Gámez Valle emphasized the significance of the Mexican Pacific Baseball League, represented by the Venados de Mazatlán, and professional soccer with Mazatlán FC. Additionally, events like the Marathon, which was the second-largest contributor to economic benefits after Carnival before the pandemic, have been replaced by International Motorcycle Week.
Miguel Hernández Fonseca, President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce in Sinaloa, stressed the importance of promoting new sports disciplines such as surfing and sailing regattas, while also reviving fishing and golf. These activities have the potential to attract tourists with significant purchasing power, leveraging Mazatlán’s idyllic Pacific Ocean and beachfront locations.
The Sinaloa Ministry of Tourism projects that the state will welcome over five million tourists by 2023, with Mazatlán accounting for 70% of the total visitors. In 2022, Mazatlán alone received 3.9 million tourists, contributing to the overall tally of over four million visitors throughout Sinaloa. The opening of the Mar de Cortés Aquarium this year is expected to drive further growth in tourism.
For 2023, the state anticipates significant economic benefits, targeting a staggering 7,977 million pesos, representing a growth of 36.1% compared to 2022’s earnings of 5,862 million pesos.
The spill-over effect of tourism encompasses various sectors, including accommodations, restaurants, entertainment centers, self-service stores, transportation, recreational activities, department stores, bars, nightclubs, groceries, markets, accessory sales, and souvenirs and handicrafts.
Most beachfront accommodations are expected to operate at full capacity, along with the four Magical Towns (Rosario, El Fuerte, Cosalá, and Mocorito) and nine Stately Towns (Choix, Concordia, Copala, Imala, Elota, El Quelite, San Ignacio, Sinaloa de Leyva, and Villa de Ahome).
The Fecanaco leader projected that Mazatlán would witness an economic spill of 5,400 million pesos, a 35% increase compared to 2022’s earnings of 4,374 million pesos. Culiacán is estimated to collect 1,335 million pesos, while Los Mochis, Guasave, and Guamúchil are expected to capture 801 million pesos, 311 million pesos, and 128 million pesos, respectively.
Mazatlán boasts 249 hotels with 15,180 rooms, while Culiacán offers 133 hotels with 5,951 rooms, and Los Mochis accommodates guests in 64 hotels with 2,462 rooms. In total, Sinaloa boasts 26,781 hotel rooms, providing ample options for visitors seeking memorable experiences in the region.
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