Mexico’s travel industry is booming, according to the numbers reported at the 47th edition of Tianguis Turistico, the nation’s annual tourism conference, which took place from March 26-29, 2023. The event set an all-time record this year, according to SECTUR, Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism, with some 88,432 business meetings — a 36% increase over the 2022 edition.
This impressive growth bodes well for Mexico overall, as well as for first-time host, Mexico City. The event, held at the Centro Citibanamex convention center, attracted more than 600 exhibitors, some 700 buyers and representatives from 32 Mexican states and five continents.
As usual, suppliers and tourism representatives from around Mexico used Tianguis as a platform for promoting their latest news. Here are the highlights travel advisors need to know.
Destinations in the Spotlight
Destinations both large and small were present at Tianguis to promote their latest news and unique appeal. The Los Cabos Tourism Board, for example, hosted a gala dinner event highlighting gastronomy, mixology and wellness. The La Paz Tourism Trust, meanwhile, was on the expo hall floor to showcase its wide variety of nature-based experiences, as well as its proximity to Los Cabos.
Among the biggest event announcements came from the state of Jalisco, where Guadalajara will serve as host city for Gay Games 2023, an international, Olympic-style sporting event that’s primarily for — but not limited to — the global LGBTQ+ community. Slated for November 3-11, Gay Games 2023 is expected to attract some 10,000 participants and will be co-hosted with Hong Kong. Members of the Jalisco Ministry of Tourism, the Guadalajara Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Puerto Vallarta Public Trust for Tourism Promotion and Publicity were present at a press conference to discuss the event, which is especially noteworthy since it marks the first time the Gay Games will take place in Latin America.
The state of Yucatan is also predicting a big year for tourism. In 2022, Yucatan beat its 2019 record in terms of visitation, and international connectivity has grown an impressive 225% since 2019, according to Michelle Fridman, the state’s secretary of tourism. The region recently debuted two new attractions: Sendero Jurasico (“jurassic trail”), a family-friendly park with a dinosaur theme, and El Museo del Meteorito (“meteorite museum"), which highlights the story and effects of a meteorite that struck the Yucatan peninsula some 66 million years ago.
Yucatan is also anticipating a boost in interest later this year with the expected opening of the first phase of the Tren Maya (Mayan Train), a sometimes-controversial federal passenger rail project that will link five states and six airports — including a new Tulum airport set to open next year in Quintana Roo.
Improved connectivity is also a selling point for the state of Oaxaca, where a new highway linking the capital city of Oaxaca with the coastal city of Puerto Escondido is cutting travel time in half, making it easier to explore multiple regions in the state, according to Carlos David Jacinto Ortiz, the state’s director of tourism promotion.
Destinations on the Rise
Several destinations that aren’t traditionally as well known by foreign travelers have launched new promotional efforts to increase their profile on the international stage. Aguascalientes, for example, is playing up its role as this year’s Cultural Capital of the Americas, as the state’s new governor aims to grow visitation to the region.
The state of Tlaxcala, meanwhile, is continuing its promotional campaign that launched last year. The state’s tourism organization has already completed a tour in the western U.S. to promote the region’s rich history and easy accessibility from both Mexico City and Puebla. And the capital city of Tlaxcala is the hub for a variety of events this year, including — surprisingly enough, for a landlocked state — an international beach volleyball championship.
Hoteliers staged a variety of events during Tianguis to discuss their latest developments. Among the most ambitious growth announcements came from Posadas, which owns La Coleccion Resorts by Fiesta Americana, a portfolio that includes the brands Live Aqua Resorts & Residence Club, Grand Fiesta Americana Hotels & Resorts, Fiesta Americana Hotels & Resorts, The Explorean and Curamoria Collection.
Posadas plans to open at least 12 hotels this year, including three properties in Mazatlan that will fly the flags of One Hoteles, Fiesta Inn and Fiesta Americana. The company has also signed a contract to develop new Live Aqua and Grand Fiesta Americana properties in the Riviera Cancun area, as well as a new Live Aqua hotel in Tulum. In addition, the company plans to unveil new, adults-only hotel brands and refresh its La Coleccion rewards program this year.
Also in growth mode is Arriva Hospitality Group, which hosted a cocktail party during Tianguis to celebrate the recent opening of Sensira Resort & Spa Riviera Maya. Mundo Imperial, meanwhile, is touting its continued growth in Yucatan, with the opening later this year of Xixim Mundo Imperial, a wellness-focused resort located on a beachfront ecological reserve, and the Wayam Mundo Imperial, which opened in Merida in 2021.
In Los Cabos, Mexico Grand Hotels has announced plans to open a new boutique hotel in downtown Cabo San Lucas next year, not far from its existing Marina Fiesta Resort & Spa. Mexico Grand has also debuted a tequila museum at its Hacienda Encantada Resort & Residences, as well as a new putting green, additional pickleball courts and a renovated children’s club.
Among the newest hotel brands to exhibit at Tianguis this year is Kempinski Hotels, which earlier this year finalized its conversion of the former Ritz-Carlton, Cancun to become Kempinski Hotel Cancun, the company’s first foray into North America.
It’s not surprising, of course, to hear of new hotels in Quintana Roo — the nation’s most popular state for international tourism. To make it easier for hoteliers around the region to work together, a new organization officially launched during this year’s Tianguis: El Consejo Hotelero del Caribe Mexicano (Mexican Caribbean Hotel Board), which includes members from seven hotel associations in destinations around the state, including Cancun, the Riviera Maya, Cozumel and Costa Mujeres.