The fifth edition of Vallarta Pride 2017 was a historical festival for Puerto Vallarta and its local and visiting LGBTQI community and its allies. Over 7,000 people attended the parade which featured 60 floats, a record for the festival which also had its first Block Party.
Vallarta Pride 2017 was a week-long celebration of the LGBTQI community with events mainly taking place across Puerto Vallarta’s gayborhood, La Zona Romantica. Returning favorites included the Fashion Show, Pulpito’s Drag Derby, pool parties, circuit parties with international DJs, film projections, a health fair, the traditional Pride Parade.
The parade, which took place on Wednesday, May 24, started at the Hotel Sheraton Buganvilias followed the Malecón and culminated on Lázaro Cárdenas street, where the party continued until dawn. Thousands joined the Block Party in the heart of Vallarta’s cobblestone street and Spanish architecture district enjoying circuit music, multicolor light shows, go-go dancers and fireworks hosted by Fiesta Bar, La Noche, Mr. Flamingo, Los Muertos Brewing, CC Slaughters and La Margarita.
This year Mayor Arturo Dávalos Contreras became the first mayor to walk the parade. He was joined by his wife, the president of the DIF System, Candelaria Tovar of Dávalos; City Councilors Susana Rodríguez, Edelmira Orizaga and Eduardo Martínez; Puerto Vallarta city and tourism police officers also marched.
Also joining in the parade where singer and Grand Marshal of Vallarta Pride 2017, Johnathan Celestin; visual artivist Daniel Arzola; the ambassadors of Vancouver Pride; director and producer of the documentary “Beyond Gay,” Robert Christie; Martha Dau, who was the local ambassador of Vallarta Pride and vloggers Bria & Chrissy.
Other Puerto Vallarta neighborhoods also joined the celebration with hotels across the city making their LGBTQI patrons feel welcomed; including the Marriott Casa Magna which adorned its entrance in colors of the rainbow, Hotel Puerto de Luna which placed rainbow flags around its perimeter with a Welcome to Vallarta Pride sign as an accent piece and Costa Sur Resort and Spa which hosting a delegation of LGBT media from around the world.
Prior to the Festival, Puerto Vallarta had started Pride season with multiple initiatives across the city including the opening of a Gender Equality Office while hoteliers, business owners and tourism operators took an LGBT certification course offered by the Mexico Secretary of Tourism (SECTUR).
In 2016 Mexico attracted 2.9 million LGBT tourists, with an economic impact of $765 dollars per person per trip, exceeding spending by 60% over other types of tourists. The LGBT market represents 10% of Mexico’s international tourism arrivals. In Puerto Vallarta, the percentage is estimated to be between 15-20%.
Puerto Vallarta has been celebrated as the premiere vacation destination in Mexico for the LGBT community. The country’s first IGLTA member in 2014, it was also honored as the first city in Mexico to be granted Gay Travel Approved status by GayTravel.com. In August of 2016, a survey pertaining to gay summer travel conducted by the New York Times and SCRUFF, one of the leading gay dating apps in the world (with 10 million members worldwide) highlighted Puerto Vallarta as its “surprisingly gay friendly” travel destination in the world and Gay Cities readers named it their Fun in the Sun Destination at its Best of Gay Cities best of 2016 poll. Puerto Vallarta was also named an International LGBTQ Destination at tourism industry awards Travvy Awards 2017 and listed as a top beach destination by Passport Magazine in April 2017.