LR: What if they haven’t been there yet?
ORR: Come, we invite you. We have the Sea of Cortez, it’s a beauty and so wonderful. We have the experience of taking the train to Copper Canyon. It’s a wonderful experience. We have the ancient world, the modern world, the colonial part. We have wonderful, wonderful places, the Magic Towns. We have this new convention center—very big, very nice. We have archaeology—this is very important, Las Labradas Petroglyphs, to be named by UNESCO as a Historical Archaeological Heritage, because there are more than 300 petroglyphs drawn in ancient times.
LR: And you can see all of this?
ORR: Yes. This is a 20-minute drive from Mazatlan. And there’s the Copper Canyon experience, about a 4-hour drive time from Mazatlan and you see the Indians. We have the gastronomy. And there’s the “new Cancun” in the southern tip of the state that FONATUR is building, about an hour-and-a-half drive from Mazatlan. It’s going to be 44,000 rooms—Cancun was initially planned to have 22,000 rooms, now with the Riviera Maya, they have a total of 64,000 rooms. We are going to open a new road from Durango to Mazatlan. Right now it’s a 5-hour drive from Mazatlan to Durango, and with the new road it’s going to be 2.5 hours. It’s going to be a road that goes across the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico, a 12-hour drive.
LR: So going back to this “new Cancun,” the plan is ambitious?
ORR: Twice the size of the initial plan for Cancun. The difference is that in this case you can arrive by land also, not only by air. These experiences talk about how rich this area is. They know us as a beach destination only, but we have gastronomy, and we can show that side of the equation.
LR: I have one last question that’s going to put you on the spot. For travel agents to tell their clients, if a client was in Mazatlan for only one day, but had the ability to get wherever they needed to get to, what is the one thing they should not miss?
ORR: Las Labradas Petroglyphs. Or, if they want to stay in town, go to downtown and stroll the seawalk, or malecon; it’s 7.5 kilometers (about four miles) with no buildings, so you see the ocean.