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Puerto Peñasco tourism officials optimistic over UArizona Spring Break changes

Posted at 6:13 AM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 09:13:10-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Puerto Peñasco tourism officials say they're optimistic over the University of Arizona's decision to cancel Spring Break and instead institute what they're calling 'reading days'.

“It will let us to better control the visitors," said Hector Vazquez Del Mercado, who works with the Puerto Peñasco Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Vazquez Del Mercado told KGUN9 that although Puerto Peñasco does see lots of tourism during the University of Arizona's spring break, he's hopeful the 'reading days' will allow students to travel to Puerto Peñasco multiple times.

Last week, the University of Arizona announced it'd be canceling its spring break and giving students five days off of school throughout February, March, and April.

RELATED: UArizona: Spring Break 2021 canceled to limit the spread of COVID-19

Vazquez Del Mercado said its been several rough months for Puerto Peñasco's tourism industry.

“If we compare to 2019, we are like down like 60 percent," he said.

He added these changes to UArizona's spring break structure might even allow for more families to head to the popular destination.

"Peñasco used to be a spring break destination for a lot of years and now it’s converting into more of a family vacation place," he said.

Although Vazquez Del Mercado is optimistic about the change to spring break, there are others who aren't so happy, like Kristina Mihajlovic.

Mihajlovic is a PhD student and teaching assistant at the University of Arizona. She says she doesn't believe the so-called 'reading days' are a good idea for anyone.

“When I hear about it I was horrified because my students work is hard and I know my students deserve a break," she said.

Mihajlovic told KGUN9 that she believes the decision to cancel a traditional spring break was made to limit travel, but she doesn't believe that will happen.

"The point has been made that if students were really insistent on going out of town and partying they could still do that, even the best students can ZOOM in from wherever in the world they are," said Mihajlovic."

While the scheduled 'reading days' are still a ways out, Vazquez Del Mercado says his priority is on keeping staff, locals, and tourists as safe as possible, all while continuing to build on the economy.

“We know that we cannot stop our economy, our economy in Penasco depends 85% on tourists, so it’s hard on us to close," he said.