Border Governor’s Conference Wrap-Up

There was plenty of pomp and circumstance at the Border Governor’s Conference in Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point), Mexico this past week, some of which I have documented in my prior posts below. I just wanted to recap a few points about the conference. My thoughts are after the jump. Please read and post your own comments on the event.

1. The conference was very well organized. I was impressed by the level of security for the main inauguration, the technology employed in keeping track of attendees (bar codes and pictures for everyone) and the large number of staffers available at all times to answer questions and to shuttle people around. The gala dinner on Thursday night was a “who’s who” of Mexican politicians and power-brokers, many of whom were able to experience Puerto Peñasco hospitality for the first time. This was a first-class event hosted by Puerto Peñasco and Sonora and I heard a lot of positive comments from attendees. Hopefully this event highlights for them the strides that have been made in Puerto Peñasco to turn it into a premiere vacation destination and encourages even more commitment from the Mexican state and federal governments to continue investing in the development of the town.

2. I’m sure some may question spending the money it took to host such a major conference in Puerto Peñasco, especially when the town (and Mexico in general) has many other pressing needs. But spending this money shows something that we are starting to see more of in Puerto Peñasco, commitment to a broader, more long-term goal – exposure of Puerto Peñasco to the world and further stimulation of economic growth in the town through tourism. Hosting such an important conference in Puerto Peñasco raises the profile of the town globally. It puts the Puerto Peñasco name in numerous media. My parents live in tiny Bluffton, Ohio, and their local newspaper, the Lima news, carried an article about the conference with “Puerto Peñasco” mentioned in it. This is important because people all around the U.S. and world will seek out the answers to questions such as “Where is Puerto Peñasco?” and “What about Puerto Peñasco made such a distinguished group of politicians and diplomats chose to meet there?” – regardless of what the articles were about.

3. While mentioning Puerto Peñasco, press coverage in the U.S. generally was confined to President Calderon’s remarks on immigration, Governor Schwarzenegger’s one-liners and Governor Napolitano’s tough talk about border security. I don’t know what information the press was provided about Puerto Peñasco, but I was hoping that some of them would take the time to focus on all the strides the town has made and its future needs as it grows. Not sure if the press just got lazy and reported on the easy stories at the major conference events, or if the conference organizers didn’t take the proper initiative to get the press out of the conference and take them around town to showcase the town a little more. If it wasn’t provided, a press packet in English and Spanish with before and after pictures of the town, a list of accomplishments to date and a list of the planned commercial infrastructure developments (including Rocky Point airport and roads) would have been helpful. Despite a temporary lull in the real estate market, the town will continue to expand and grow by leaps and bounds over the next 25 years (very similar to how – despite the current real estate slowdown – Phoenix isn’t going to suddenly quit rapidly expanding). So I was hoping there would be a little more lifestyle/tourism side reporting done about the town.

4. I expect the conference to act as a springboard for even more investment and development in Puerto Peñasco. Governor Bours effectively used the conference to roll out Puerto Peñasco’s red carpet to a wide range of attendees – many of whom are very influential decision-makers. These attendees will carry their impressions of Puerto Peñasco back to their communities and spread the word about the growth to date and the incredible potential of the town, further cementing the long-lasting effects of the Border Governor’s Conference.

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