In February of 2012, a groundbreaking ceremony for Puerto Peñasco’s new Convention Center took place along the old road to Cholla Bay in Sandy Beach. Just over two years later, following an investment of 136 million pesos from both Federal and State resources, Sonora Governor Guillermo Padrés was joined by both State and Municipal officials at the once barren spot for the formal inauguration of the Peñasco Expo Center on May 8, 2014.
“The third time is a charm,” joked Puerto Peñasco Mayor Gerardo Figueroa Zazueta, alluding to the fact the Expo Center had already been the site for last November’s Black & White Ball, and on April 26th welcomed more than 4000 people to see hometown boxer Juan “Gallito” Estrada defend his two world flyweight boxing championships. The Governor’s visit now marks the official formal inauguration of Puerto Peñasco’s Convention Center, which may be divided into 10 different halls and has a general capacity of up to 2500 people.
State Director of Tourism Promotion, Javier Tapia Camou, explained the Peñasco Expo Center has the capacity for 2500 people, though as “Gallito’s” fight illustrated, it can also hold massive events (with the inclusion of bleachers). The versatility of the Expo Center, which may be divided into 10 halls, offers the possibility to hold 8 separate events simultaneously. Two additional exterior spaces serve as opportunities for growth, and there is parking for 1000 vehicles.
Sonora Governor Guillermo Padrés Elías, noting he feels at home when visiting the city, remarked that “Coming to Puerto Peñasco represents coming to speak with [the community]…that dreams, projects, and high aspirations can become reality.”
After a brief tour to various projects in town before making his way to the Convention Center, along with a stop at a pineapple stand along the repaved Calle 13, Governor Padrés explained, “It is very clear to me that this is part of all that Puerto Peñasco deserves, what its people demand. It is very clear to me that Puerto Peñasco is progressing, it is growing, that Puerto Peñasco has a tremendous future ahead. I would like to express I am quite pleased to be formally inaugurating this Convention Center as it is also clear it has already been of service and will be of tremendous service to the community.”
Oscar Palacio Soto, Puerto Peñasco representative to the Mexican Association of Hotels and Motels in Sonora, similarly highlighted, “Today we inaugurate one of the most important tourism infrastructure projects, one that will be a pillar for the future of tourism in Puerto Peñasco. It must be an important asset for all of us who reside here, marking a before and after from the present and the future of Puerto Peñasco. The task of building it has been done; now comes the challenge to attract a form of tourism quite distinct to what we have had in Puerto Peñasco – one with high expectations in areas of care, quality, and warmth that in many cases will include business, religious groups, adventure, artistic and cultural opportunities, as well as both musical and sporting events.”
Among the numerous congratulatory applause, expressions of gratitude by Mayor Figueroa for the arduous efforts of Governor Padrés and COFETUR Director Tapia Camou in seeing the Convention Center project come to fruition, recognition was also given to both Gus Brown and Reyel Taylor for having donated the land where the Peñasco Expo Center now stands.
The goal is for the Peñasco Expo Center to eventually be run by a para-municipal office in the future, ensuring its continued success and operation.