Mexico Tourism Agency May Lead Development of Gulf Coast Resort
By Thomas Black
Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) — Mexico’s federal tourism fund may spend as much as 5 billion pesos ($416.9 million) to buy land and build infrastructure for a beach resort on the Gulf of Mexico that could attract more than $4 billion in private investment.
Miguel Gomez Mont, director of the National Tourism Development Fund known as Fonatur, said his agency would spend the money around La Pesca, a fishing village in Tamaulipas state, about 185 miles south of the Texas border city of Brownsville. The state government and local investors have been trying to create interest in developing the area for several years.
“La Pesca right now is not working. It’s stuck,” Gomez Mont said in an interview during a conference in Mexico City. “We may take it over.”
Mexico is seeking to open new areas for tourism development because long-time resorts including Cancun and Puerto Vallarta are becoming saturated, Gomez Mont said. President Felipe Calderon on Sept. 30 announced plans for a Pacific coast vacation development in the state of Sinaloa, with twice the land area of Cancun and aiming to attract more than $6 billion in private investment.
Fonatur will announce its plans for La Pesca by the end of December, Gomez Mont said. The fund may buy land or work with local investors who own land there to open more than 3,000 hectares (7,410 acres) for development, he said.
Private investment would be at least 10 times what the government spends to kickstart the project, Gomez Mont said. In Cancun, the private sector has invested 20 times as much as the government spent.
Fonatur also is studying a project to develop an area on the Sea of Cortez in Sonora state that’s about 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Puerto Penasco, a beach city that has attracted U.S. owners of second homes. The city is known as Rocky Point to Americans and is located about 215 miles south of Phoenix, Arizona.
The government would work with a U.S. group that owns the land to create a development that’s better planned than Rocky Point, which has been built haphazardly by private developers, Gomez Mont said.
“We have a very interesting opportunity there,” he said. “It will be like a Rocky Point, but well done.”
Fonatur would manage and promote the development and the unnamed U.S. group would contribute the land and financing, he said. The development could be as big as 10,000 hectares, he said.
The Sonora development is in the planning stage and won’t move forward until the U.S. credit crisis eases, he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Black in Mexico City at email@example.com.