No fear, Travel Agent was, and we’ve got all the news and notes you may have missed from this year’s event.
Now, let's get you all caught up.
UNWTO Secretary-General’s Speech Highlights Opening Ceremony
While President Trump was never mentioned by name during the opening ceremony, several speakers did allude to his proposal to build a wall around the U.S.-Mexico border.
Perhaps the most vocal was UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb D. Rifai, who made reference to both Trump's wall and travel ban proposals before offering words of support to the country of Mexico.
"It's still a beautiful world," says Rifai. "You hear about diseases, you hear about earthquakes, natural disasters, terrorism, walls being built, people being deprived of their rights to travel…many, many (inequalities) and sufferings, but the fact is we hear about them because we are connected today, we are becoming whole, we become aware."
Rifai went on to explain that travel is the great remedy for an otherwise chaotic political period in global travel.
"Travel and tourism is a calmness during this new world," he says. "We become better when we travel, our eyes open, our hearts open, our minds open, all stereotypes are broken. I traveled the world. I am a better person. When we travel, we become better people because there is nothing more powerful then people coming (together), rubbing shoulders and creating this new world."
Palace Resorts to Open Second Le Blanc Hotel
The adults-only Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos will open this fall and have more than 370 rooms. The resort's suites will include private terraces with ocean views. The restaurants and bars will also have ocean views.
Suites range from 760 to 1,400, square feet and come equipped with living spaces, a king or two standard double beds, large bathrooms with luxurious bathtubs and rain shower heads.
The second Le Blanc Spa Resort comes years after the success of Le Blanc Spa Resort Cancun, the brand’s longstanding flagship property.
Le Blanc Spa Resort Los Cabos will be located on Mexico's Baja California Peninsula, and will be the second property under the umbrella of Palace Resorts.
This beachfront property will also include a 29,000 square foot, full-service spa with 25 treatment rooms, a hydrotherapy facility, a 3,961 square foot fitness and wellness center and four plunge pools.
AMResorts Could Have 100 All-Inclusive Properties Signed by 2020
AMResorts announced that the company is on pace to reach its goal of 100 all-inclusive luxury properties signed by 2020. Up next, the company will reinforce its presence in Mexico with ten openings by 2020 – a record number of consecutive openings in a single country.
The AMResorts portfolio currently has more than 50 properties across its six brands, including 28 resorts in Mexico. AMResorts said that the company's focus on the country comes after Mexico welcomed 94.6 million international visitors in 2016, up 8.6 percent from 2015.
Trending Mexico Destinations
Travel Agent spoke with several Mexico tour operators in attendance and learned that Mazatlan is perhaps the trendiest destination in the country. Eduardo Marcos of American Airlines Vacations says the destination is currently experiencing a “rebirth” because of all of its new developments.
Also, operators expect the destination to become even more popular after it gets to showcase its offerings as the host of next year’s Tianguis Turistico. We were also told to expect more interest in Xcaret, which is currently developing roughly 6,000 luxury hotel rooms.
And whereas Los Cabos has always been hot, we were told it is getting even hotter amongst affluent clients because of the massive amount of luxury development (about 4,000 luxury hotel rooms) expected to be completed there by 2018.
Other News and Notes From Tianguis
The 42nd edition of Tianguis Turistico wrapped up on Thursday, March 30, and drew more than 10,000 travel professionals, government officials and others looking to promote travel to and from Mexico. In fact, the attendance represented a 6 percent overall increase from last year's show.
Mexico’s Mazatlan was announced as the host city for Tianguis Turistico 2018, which alternates between Acapulco and other iconic destinations in Mexico each year.
The new “Maya World” product was launched in collaboration with Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism, the Mexico Tourism Board, six Mexican states, Aeromar airlines, CONEXTUR and the private sector. This included the naming of Taleb D. Rifai, Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization, as honorary ambassador for the Mundo Maya region.
For the first time, Tianguis Turístico was certified as carbon neutral and included a strategy to minimize environmental impact and compensate for emissions with environmental programs in the state of Chiapas.
The national program Viajemos Todos Por Mexico (“Let’s all travel across Mexico”) announced impressive results in its first year with an expanded website offering 2,500 products and the launch of four new regional tourism guides.
More than 1,700 business meetings about the program were held during the conference.
During the inauguration ceremony, Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto highlighted the importance of the tourism sector for Mexico and the generation of more than nine million jobs for the nation and the continued focus and investment his administration would place on this fast-growing sector.
Mexico’s Minister of Tourism, Enrique De la Madrid, mentioned in the same inauguration ceremony that the country is prepared to receive both national and international tourists and will ensure that the tourism sector remains an engine of growth and development for the nation, generating improvements in infrastructure, connectivity and sustainability across all of its destinations.
The state of Guerrero and Acapulco also unveiled various initiatives designed to strengthen the growth of their tourism sector and enhance traveler experiences. Programs included investments by the private sector in resorts and hotels, restaurants and meeting venues, as well as the soon-to-be-launched mega tunnel, which will reduce travel time between tourism experiences in Acapulco as well as the expansion of the Acapulco International Airport and renovations in the iconic Acapulco bay. Also announced was significant growth in scheduled arrivals for cruise ships in 2017 versus 2016.
Acapulco also proudly unveiled a new over-the-sea zip line. Traveling at speeds of up to 75 mph, the attraction offers unique views of Puerto Marques Bay in Acapulco.