The construction of Mazatlán’s new aquarium, Mexico’s first public-private project in the tourist sector, is 60% complete and plans to open in October, six months later than previously planned.
The cost of the project is predicted to total 1.4 billion pesos (US $72 million), 60% of which has come from Kingu Mexicana, the company owned by Mazatlán hotel magnate Ernesto Coppel Kelly. The remainder is being provided by the national infrastructure fund, Fonadin, and the Ministry of Tourism through the national fund for tourism promotion, Fonatur.
The new aquarium, located in the Parque Central, covers an area of 26,000 square meters and filling its tanks requires four million liters of water. It will include 19 exhibition rooms, four inner courtyards and a 240-person auditorium, and plans to exhibit 260 species.
“We were going at a good rhythm but the pandemic slowed us down because a lot of the providers, principally the international providers, halted their activities and the delivery of equipment and materials. On top of that, we had to adjust the cost of the project with a 22% increase of what was originally agreed, but those resources are from the private sector, the government won’t have to provide anything more,” said Kingu Mexicana representative, Guillermo Zerecero.
So far 67 companies from Sinaloa, 34 from other parts of Mexico and six international companies have been involved in the project.
“We are really excited because the aquarium is going to create a new international-level attraction for Mazatlán, and that will boost local economic activity which is what Mr. Ernesto Coppel Kelly was looking to do … We predict that each year it will receive 700,000 visitors, of which around 1,000 will be students who will enter free.
To be called the Acuario Mar de Cortés, or Sea of Cortés Aquarium, the facility will replace the existing Mazatlán Aquarium, which will close in October.