The subject of this issue’s cover profile, What's New With Riu
, is especially interesting to me. My last two trips were to Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico, and Jamaica. In both these hot destinations I saw huge, beautiful Riu resorts in the final stages of completion. The Riu Montego Bay, Jamaica, will open in September, while the Riu Palace Pacifico, in Vallarta, opens in October. Notice I said “will open” instead of “is scheduled to open” or some other qualified remark. As you’ll read in the cover story, Luis Riu Guell, the company’s president and CEO, prides himself on opening hotels on time. His determination to make construction deadlines is no small task either considering how fast the company is growing.
“One of the things my father taught me was that when we set an opening date, we open on that date or before, not even one day later,” he says in the story. “Based on that, I’ve opened 59 hotels in my life all on time. It makes me proud that we’ve done this from so long ago.”
It’s certainly no accident that Riu is choosing Nuevo Vallarta and Montego Bay for new hotels. Both places are terrific beach locales with great potential.
In Jamaica, I interviewed Edmund Bartlett, the country’s Minister of Tourism, and the amount of growth taking place there is truly amazing. The two major airports, in Montego Bay and Kingston, are undergoing substantial renovations; a brand-new major highway now connects much of the island, with more new roads to come; and there is construction on new cruise ports as well. All of this infrastructure work is in addition to the many new resorts opening or just opened on the island. And the good news for those of us on the West Coast is that Air Jamaica will be increasing the frequency of its direct flights from LAX to the island to five times a week beginning in May.
“By 2009, Jamaica’s infrastructure will be significantly enhanced, with new highways, new airport renovations and a new mega cruise port,” said Bartlett.
It’s clear Riu is banking on projects such as these in their new destinations. If your clients are not aware of the Riu brand yet, look to Mexico and the Caribbean, because now is the time to introduce them to it. K.S.