Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board completes Third Security Study
In a time when most tourism destinations hesitate to speak about security out of concern it may frighten visitors, Puerto Vallarta has continuously hired leading security assessment firms to review its security. Studies completed in 2011 and 2012 by Thomas Dale & Associates, and this year’s study conducted by Tourism & More present findings that showcase how Puerto Vallarta continues to provide a safe and friendly small town feeling for both its visitors and locals.
The study was conducted in July of 2014 by Dr. Peter E. Tarlow and teammates Sergeant Calder Lively and Officer Ryan Clements, both of the College Station Texas Police Department. The team of leading destination security firm Tourism & More set out to assess the current tourism security situation in Puerto Vallarta and answer one fundamental question: Is Puerto Vallarta a safe and secure city for tourists?
The assessment of Puerto Vallarta’s security was conducted using a combination of personal interaction, interviews and the team’s extensive experience. They conducted formal and informal interviews with members of the different police departments based in the destination including tourism police (policia de seguridad turística), municipal police (policia municipal), transit police (policía vial) and the Federal police (policía federal); members of the tourism industry; members of the hotel industry; local media, representatives from the cruise terminal and piers, the Puerto Vallarta airport executives; destination management companies; local business owners, representative from the US Consulate in Guadalajara; Mexican and US visitors to the city, Mexican naval officials and time-share sales reps.
In general, the researchers found that Puerto Vallarta provide its visitors, locals and expat populations a safe setting where people feel comfortable walking around town without perceived fear. Puerto Vallarta is a place where storefronts show their merchandise without need for much security and where some still feel comfortable with leaving their doors unlocked.
The study, however notes that “if one is looking for trouble, it can be found, but if one stays away from locations such as these, then they should not impact a visitor’s experience.” It also noted that Puerto Vallarta tends to lack international signage and taxi prices, and its tourism police require training and basic knowledge of English. As a result of the assessment, Tourism and More provided the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board with different options to develop tourism trainings, promote its safety standards, as well as provide an analysis of the city’s emergency planning and crisis management plan as it relates to its tourism infrastructure and solutions for improving signage.
Dr. Peter E. Tarlow is a world-renowned speaker and expert specializing in the impact of crime and terrorism on the tourism industry, event and tourism risk management, and economic development. In 1999, the US Customs service asked Tarlow to work with its agents in the area of customer service, cultural awareness, and custom's impact on the tourism and visitor industry. In 2000, due to interagency cooperation on the part of the Bureau of Reclamation, Tarlow helped to prepare security and FBI agents for the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Tarlow is currently working with police departments of the state of Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games and disclosing a security training in Curazao.