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Impressive growth, as well as potential challenges, were among the hot topics at the 44th edition of Tianguis Turistico, Mexico’s annual tourism conference. More than 1,000 buyers from 43 countries congregated in Acapulco from April 7 to 10 for the chance to network and learn about the latest tourism news from around the nation.
While many private conversations focused on Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s recent decision to close the Mexico Tourism Board, the president’s address during the opening ceremony didn’t directly address the issue. Instead, he focused on other initiatives that he says will bolster tourism and improve the lives of those who work in the industry.
“We’re placing emphasis on two actions that will help a lot,” Obrador told attendees. “One is the urban development of heavily populated neighborhoods in tourist cities — to reduce and moderate the contrasts between well-developed hotel zones and marginalized neighborhoods in the same city.”
The benefits of tourism are no secret, and there are governments in other places that are carrying out a tireless effort to attract the same tourists that we are.
“The second issue that we’re working on for the entire nation is a challenge: a goal to guarantee peace and tranquility in Mexico, and to lower and reduce criminal incidents throughout the country and in tourism centers,” he added.
Miguel Torruco Marques, Mexico’s secretary of tourism, provided positive growth statistics for the industry, announcing that some 43.3 million international visitors will arrive in Mexico this year, a 4.7% increase from last year. In addition, he noted that current development projects in the tourism sector represent an investment of more than $4.8 billion. Government officials are also discussing the potential of the multibillion-dollar Mayan Train, which Obrador aims to have running through southeastern Mexico by 2025.
Some speeches addressed perceived challenges. Luis Barrios, president of the National Association of Hotel Chains, warned of complications due to the recent dissolution of the Mexico Tourism Board.
“There are real threats,” he said. “The benefits of tourism are no secret, and there are governments in other places that are carrying out a tireless effort to attract the same tourists that we are.”
Barrios noted a 1.7 million reduction in Mexico-bound airline seats between January and August of this year.
“Meanwhile, four competing destinations in the Caribbean — the Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic — have, in the same time period, received an additional 2.3 million airline seats,” he said.
To successfully confront the increased competition, Barrios said that Mexico needs $125 million annually from the federal government to promote travel.
“Mexico is a tourism powerhouse,” he told the president. “Let’s give Mexico the opportunity to maintain its current levels and continue growing.”
Supplier News From Tianguis- Posadas announced an ambitious growth plan that includes the debut of two new hotel brands as well as the opening of 300 properties by 2020, including a 700-room resort in Puerto Vallarta and hotels in the Riviera Maya destinations of Playa Mujeres and Tulkal.
- AMResorts announced the opening of five new resorts in 2019, including Dreams Acapulco Resort & Spa, Now Emerald Cancun, Now Natura Riviera Cancun, Sunscape Akumal Beach Resort & Spa and Sunscape Star Cancun. In addition, the company is rebranding its three Reflect Resorts & Spas this year.
- In Acapulco, Grupo Autofin Mexico is launching three new tourism projects: Princess Hospital, which will focus on medical tourism; Manila Center Galleon, a cultural center; and Sarena Mia, a multiuse tennis center. Specific opening dates have yet to be announced.
- On Mexico’s Caribbean coast, Hotel Xcaret has opened its newest park, Xavage, a $78 million venue with a ropes course, ziplines and whitewater rafting. Also new in the region is Planet Hollywood Cancun, which opens later this year as a 1,027-room newbuild property in the Costa Mujeres development.
- In Los Cabos, Nobu Hotel opened in April, a collaboration between chef Nobu Matsuhisa and actor Robert De Niro. The 200-room property has a 13,691-square-foot spa as well as a farm-to-table restaurant created by Swedish chef Helene Henderson.
Next year, Tianguis will take place in Merida, Yucatan.
The Details Tianguis Turistico www.tianguisturistico.com