By Marc Murphy
Today I want to address a topic that is related to the article that I presented to you a few weeks ago regarding the shortage of workers and skilled labor in tourism. In the same letter, I commented that after two years of the pandemic, the sector is facing the challenge of recovering thousands of workers who, tired of waiting for recovery, refocused their professional careers on other industries.
Well, in the last year we have seen how this problem has not only increased, but is being linked to others, and one of them is the shortage of affordable and accessible housing for workers in the tourism industry.
In the Puerto Vallarta – Bahía de Banderas region, this phenomenon is occurring with increasing frequency, with the opening of large hotels that have seen the need to bring people from other states of the country, who require a place to live and do not find, or if they do, it is in places very distant from their workplaces.
So far, I have detected several factors as triggers for this situation. One of them has to do, of course, with the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the housing segments. According to the Mexican Real Estate Bank, in 2021 the industrial and vacation home segments were the ones that registered the greatest dynamism, while the commercial and residential housing segments showed the slowest progress, with little growth prospects.
Another very curious factor is that a good part of the residential offer has been allocated to the tourist market, that is, houses that could be rented at an affordable price in neighborhoods near hotel complexes, today we see that they are being offered on different platforms of accommodation as a vacation home.
In some towns in Bahía de Banderas, things have gone further, since an «expulsion effect» of the resident has been created. Since the owners of the houses prefer to rent them to tourists, while the locals are unable to pay rents that reach 700 dollars.
This housing crisis is so complicated that some developers and investors are considering the possibility of building villages, with «tiny houses» in which workers, single or as a couple, can live, which, although they will be small, will have everything they need at hand, and best of all, close to tourist developments.
One of the objectives of tourism is to improve communities and, of course, all those who live from tourism; but if they do not have access to decent housing or if they have to travel between two and three hours every day to get to their jobs, then it is not helping to improve their quality of life.
Then, it is necessary to focus on this problem, the private initiative and the governments, since the construction of new developments is still at the door, with thousands of rooms, both in Puerto Vallarta and in Bahía de Banderas, which, although they will bring more job offers, they will also require more housing for workers, schools and other services, such as water, electricity, sanitation, etc., and it is already being seen that we are little prepared to face the challenge
What do you think? I read you.