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Viewpoint: Remaining Loyal to MexicoNovember 23, 2011 By: Ruthanne Terrero Travel Agent
I’ve been to Mexico’s Riviera Maya a few times this year and every time I have visited, I’ve admired how the tourist area has its act together. At Cancun International Airport, there is always a sea of people waiting to provide information on ground transportation and if you’ve made arrangements with a good land operator, it’s usually fairly easy to get a comfortable, fast transfer to your resort.
I was most recently at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, one of the top resorts in Mexico, attending the Classic Vacations Marketing Partners event. This annual confab draws together the top-producing agencies for Classic, and its participants represent a true who’s who of the travel agent community.
Virtually all the agents I spoke with were enamored of Grand Velas, with its high level of service, beautiful rooms and excellent cuisine—which is a great compliment since it’s an all-inclusive resort. Some have commented on its scale: “I felt small in my suite, it’s so large,” said one agent. And it’s true, at Grand Velas Riviera Maya, everything is huge, including the actual beach, which extends for yards and yards before reaching the Caribbean. The hotel, which opened in late 2008, is indeed a fabulous addition not just to Mexico, but to the great resorts of the world.
Apparently, the Riviera Maya is slated to become even more luxurious. Dario Flota, executive director of the Riviera Maya Tourist Board, said that big luxury brands are getting ready to set up shop in the region, including St. Regis, Four Seasons, W, Andaz, Auberge Villas and Park Hyatt. All of that, coupled with increased airlift from key markets (including the UK), and the ongoing presence of the Fairmont Mayakoba and the PGA Tour’s Mayakoba Golf Classic, has made the Riviera Maya an easily accessible world-class destination.
Classic Vacations has been loyal to Mexico throughout its ups and downs, hosting its national sales meeting and Star Performers Awards (a program that rewards top-producing frontline agencies) here, says Classic Co-President Greg Bernd, noting that the tour operator has continually added on hotels to the destination. “We remain dedicated to Mexico,” he tells us.
That’s a pretty high recommendation, considering that Classic is one of the country’s top FIT travel providers. The guests it brings to any of its destinations tend to book the high-end suites and spend a decent amount of money. On the Riviera Maya, it provides ground service via Mayaland Tours, known for its elite level of service.
|Dario Flota, executive director of the Riviera Maya Tourist Board; Greg Bernd, co-president of Classic Vacations; and Juan Vela, vice president of Velas Resorts.|
It’s true that Mexico periodically continues to make headlines because of the drug-related crime in regions that, for the most part, are hundreds and hundreds of miles away from the tourist areas. But don’t forget that some of the best hotels on the top beaches of the world wait in regions that aren’t experiencing fallout from these problems. Keep that in mind as you educate your clients on the wonders of Mexico.
If you want to come see Mexico for yourself, try to work with those suppliers you are most loyal to and see if they can help arrange a trip for you. Remember, you can always sell more easily what you are most passionate about and that’s usually something you’ve experienced firsthand.