Grupo Vidanta Benefits from Property Concessions Granted by AMLO
By KELIN DILLON
Just days after the public conflict of interest scandal plaguing Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) eldest son, José Ramón López Beltrán, and his employment status at a company owned by the family of close AMLO collaborator and businessman Daniel Chávez, new information has revealed showing just how close the working relationship between Chávez and the López Obrador government is considering the three concessions granted for Chávez’s luxury tourism chain, Grupo Vidanta, granted between 2019 and 2020.
According to public records obtained by nonprofit Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI), AMLO gave an extension of three concessions for up to 15 years to Grupo Vidanta’s properties to occupy beaches in Nayarit, Jalisco and Guerrero – three of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations. Similarly, Grupo Vidanta was recently granted two new concessions in Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, adding to the company’s potential profits as Mexico’s tourism sector reactivates post-pandemic.
With more than 90,000 square meters of prime Mexican beach property designated to Grupo Vidanta by the government, the employment of López Beltrán at a company associated with Grupo Vidanta and the Chávez family has come under fire in the public and the press as a conflict of interest standing in stark contrast to AMLO’s supposed anti-corruption administration.
Even Grupo Vidanta’s stake in Acapulco’s exclusive Playa Diamante region has raised questions about the company’s relationship with the government, as the group’s more than one thousand square meters in the area only cost Grupo Vidanta 131,999 pesos per year between 2014 and 2018 – an incredibly low cost when compared to surrounding properties in Playa Diamante.
Likewise, Grupo Vidanta subsidiaries RGL Arrendadora de Inmuebles and Development Marina Vallarta were given the responsibility to construct a cable car connecting the group’s facilities in Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit, and Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco. The project was approved by the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) despite not having received the requisite opinions from the municipalities of Puerto Vallarta and Bahía de Banderas first, and is set to benefit Grupo Vidanta’s under-construction mega-resort and theme park VidantaWorld above the surrounding community.