Catching Up on Cancun

Latest developments from Mexico's leading destination

By: Lisa Jennings

Cancun may only be 34 years old, but it’s Mexico’s leading tourism destination, with an estimated 3.1 million visitors every year. Tourism officials are constantly trying to re-invent this “modern, avant-garde, world-class version of paradise,” as the Cancun Visitors and Conventions Bureau describes their city.

A number of projects are in the works to further enhance the destination. Here is a roundup from the visitors and conventions bureau of what’s coming in Cancun:

Construction is underway on the Grand Aqua hotel, which will be operated by Fiesta Americana. The property will have 371 ocean-view rooms, including 306 luxury rooms, 29 Grand Club rooms and 36 Deluxe suites. A spa is also planned, as well as four restaurants and four bars, and 16,500 square feet of meeting space.

The shopping center Plaza Kukulcan is undergoing a complete renovation, and will add a complex called Luxury Avenue, which will feature designer boutiques such as Gucci, Mont Blanc, Fendi, Swarovsky, Adora, and Max Mara. Plaza La Isla is investing approximately $15 million to construct 50 new retail locations.

And a new mall, to be called Paseo Cancun Mall, will feature16 movie screens, a bowling alley, restaurants and shops.

In October 2006, Cancun will host the Mexican Caribbean’s first Formula One race. The state of Quintana Roo is building a $100 million racetrack, with a 50,000-seat capacity that will also serve as a concert venue. Construction is expected to begin within the next few months.

Cancun is growing as a hub for flights to and from the U.S., Europe and South America. City officials in Cancun have signed agreements with states such as Michoacan and Guanajuato to create multiple destination travel circuits targeted to the European travel market in particular. And at Cancun International Airport, Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste is considering a $50 million investment to build a second runway that could serve up to 100 flights every hour. A new freight terminal and refurbishment of the Executive Aviation Centre is also being contemplated.