Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto spoke at the conference. // © 2014 Christian Palma/AP/Mexico Tourism Board
Feature image (above): Tianguis Turistico took place in Quintana Roo’s Lakam Center. // © 2014 Netzahualcoyotl Codero Garcia
Mexico’s annual tourism convention, Tianguis Turistico, is always a good opportunity to take a reading of what’s happening in the nation’s tourism industry. Such was the case during the 39th annual edition of the event, which took place at Lakam Center, a convention center between Cancun and the Riviera Maya.
Some 15,000 business appointments took place during this year’s Tianguis, with about 3,000 exhibitors and 59 countries represented. Actor Kevin Spacey made an appearance during the event to discuss his career as well as his love of Mexico. What follows are the news highlights from this year’s event.
AMResorts had some of the most ambitious expansion plans to announce during Tianguis, with a goal of operating 15,138 rooms in six countries by the time its current projects are complete. Among the new properties is the 441-room Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa, scheduled to open in September following a major overhaul on the existing Grand Oasis Viva.
The company is also converting an existing hotel on Isla Mujeres to become the Zoetry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres Cancun by December of this year. The 424-room Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort will debut in November. AMResorts’ lineup of newbuild properties include Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya and Breathless Petempich Riviera Maya, both of which are expected to open in December 2015.
Real Inn Expands
About two years ago, Grupo Real Turismo introduced the Real Inn brand, targeted at business travelers. This year, the brand is expanding by three properties: the 145-room Real Inn Villahermosa, the 160-room Real Inn Cancun and the 160-room Real Inn Guadalajara. Additionally, in 2015, the brand will debut a 300-room property in Monterrey and 405-room property in Mexico City’s Santa Fe district.
Much to Do in Quintana Roo
A press conference at Tianguis officially announced the creation of Maya Kaan, a region that developers are calling the newest destination in the Mexican Caribbean. Through this new marketing effort, travelers will be able to take 16 tours to nine tourist sites, operated by 17 community-based companies in local Maya communities. The communities are located in Tulum, Felipe Carrillo Puerto and Jose Maria Morelos. Another new attraction in the state is Xoximilco, a theme park from the creators of Xcaret. Designed to evoke the legendary canals of Xochimilco in Mexico City, the attraction, although spelled differently, offers cruises on traditionally colorful boats, with food, drinks and music.
Lure of Los Cabos
Some 1,300 new hotel rooms are under development in Los Cabos, including the 115-room Thompson Cabo San Lucas, 120-room Resort at Diamante, 196-room Park Hyatt, 124-room Ritz-Carlton Reserve Los Cabos and 300-room JW Marriott Los Cabos. In addition, two new 18-hole golf courses — the Quivira Los Cabos and El Cardonal at Diamante — will open this fall.
A new highway that bypasses Mazatlan’s city center is slated to be completed in November 2014, cutting travel time from the Mazatlan airport to the northern hotel zone to about 20 minutes, according to tourism secretary Frank Cordova. In 2015, the neighborhood surrounding the city’s convention center is to be fully complete, he said, with a 250-room hotel by a to-be-announced Spanish chain. Also in the works are plans to develop a nearly 98,000-acre stretch of beachfront area north of the existing Emerald Bay property.
Tianguis Returns to Acapulco
Next year, Tianguis will return to its original home, Acapulco. Destination representatives from that city — which is now marketed as part of the Triangulo del Sol, or Sun Triangle — aim to showcase what has changed since the last time the city hosted the event, including a new urban transportation system called Acabus and the Macrotunnel project, which will connect the Diamante zone with the Traditional zone. Mundo Imperial, a meeting, convention and event facility located in the Diamante zone, will be a major hub for next year’s Tianguis, and some 800 new guestrooms will debut there before the event.