A tireless promoter of nautical tourism in the region
Vilma Habelloecker began her professional path shortly after receiving a degree in tourism from Nayarit University, in her home state. Her expected choice upon graduating might have been a career in the hotel industry, but fate and her own intention pointed her to the recently created Bahia de Banderas municipality, where she began employment. It was the early ’90s and the only point of touristic interest along Nayarit’s southern coast was Nuevo Vallarta
Eager to develop tourism as an important revenue source in the region, Vilma worked closely with the state government, quickly acquiring knowledge and experience. In coordination with federal authorities, the municipality began offering a variety of training courses targeting hotels, restaurants and other businesses to progressively raise the quality of goods and services offered. Little by little, Bahia de Banderas
established itself as one of Nayarit’s most important tourism revenue generators.
Vilma received an invitation to join Sidek-Situr, the powerful conglomerate once responsible for the creation and management of important marinas on Mexico’s Pacific coast, including Mazatlán, Ixtapa, Puerto Peñasco, San Carlos and Marina Vallarta
. She began working as the administrator for Marina Vallarta, and it was then that she discovered her true calling: nautical tourism. “What’s truly amazing to me is the fact that nautical tourism was not even mentioned while I was studying at the university,” she recalls.
Eight months into this new phase, she was invited to join Sidek-Situr’s corporate office in Guadalajara, where she began oversight of all of the group’s marinas. Eventually, however, the corporation folded. With the marinas becoming separate entities, Vilma decided to put her experience to good use, launching her own company. Initially, she began as a ship cosignatory agent, guiding vessels of all types through the intricate process of submitting their paperwork to the Mexican government upon docking anywhere in the country. But as such paperwork became simpler through important law reforms, she has branched out to provide other services.
Today, Vilma continues to maintain constant contact with local, state and federal authorities, harbormasters and private yacht owners, keeping up with the ever-changing laws that affect them and providing visiting and local sailors with assessment permits and paperwork assessment whenever necessary. Identifying a connection between sailors and reading, she has opened small bookstores at her three locations—Marina Vallarta, Paradise Village and the Nuevo Vallarta Plaza Business Center—where she stocks a carefully curated selection of books in English and Spanish. As such, she is a true leader in the local nautical community and a person you may want to get to know!