|New resorts offered by MLT include Valentin Imperial Maya|
For the first time since its inception in 1976, Mexico’s annual Tianguis Turistico travel marketplace was held, not on the coast, but in Puebla, an interior city about 80 miles southwest of Mexico City. This is going to be Mexico’s year to showcase more than just its ocean and sand, and that is why hosting the destination in Puebla was so important to Mexican officials.
“There were doubts about changing the venue of Tianguis Turistico,” says Rafael Moreno Valle, governor of Puebla. “But it is great to show a new face of our country.” The event pulled in 500 exhibitors from 42 countries and, when the final numbers are tallied, it is likely exceeding expectations in terms of income.
“The event is so popular that we had to get rooms in nearby cities,” says Claudia Ruiz, the secretary of tourism. “We are all here to get something other than sun and beach. Puebla shows the diversity of Mexico’s tourism offerings.” Among the niches that Mexico is looking to highlight are medical tourism, sports, archaeology, luxury and the MICE market.
This does not apply to just Puebla. Destinations in Mexico that are typically known for only sun and sand are looking for diversification. For example, Cancun and Riviera Maya seek to embrace the region’s cultural heritage and will continue to promote its Mayan history throughout the year (the new Mayan museum in Cancun is a perfect example). The eastern Yucatan state of Quintana Roo will host next year’s Tianguis.
Other noteworthy developments that came to light during this year’s Tianguis include the following.
MLT Vacations announced an increase in its airline partners’ non-stop service, as well as the addition of new resorts to its Mexican product offerings. Travel Agent met with Elizabeth Moriarty, vice president for product development, who filled us in on the news. “Delta Air Lines will be flying daily from Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta,” she tells us. “Historically, this flight was offered just once a week. It will be offered daily as of July 1.” Delta will also be adding non-stop flights from LA to Guadalajara. Aeromexico is adding four summer non-stop flights from Los Angeles to Cancun and Huatulco.
“Mexico’s Pacific side needs our support,” she says. “We are launching aggressive sales initiatives to increase demand.” The new resorts added to the product offerings are the Valentin Imperial Maya and the Luxury Bahia Principe Sian Kaán in Riviera Maya. The Valentin Imperial Maya is an adults-only, all-inclusive property in Riviera Maya. The Luxury Bahia Principe Sian Kaán is also adults-only and will be available for booking as of April 30. Properties are offered through Delta Vacations, United Vacations and Aeromexico Vacations.
Solmar Hotels & Resorts announced phase three of its Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa. The resort opened in May 2011 and completed phase two in December 2012. Phase three will continue throughout 2013 and into 2014. At the completion of phase two, the resort marked its grand opening, along with the opening of Building B with 27 oceanfront suites. Two new spa cabanas are being constructed by the ocean in front of Building B and are slated to debut this spring.
|Puebla Cathedral dates back to 1690.|
Building C will be completed in April 2014, with an additional 72 suites all with full kitchens with marble counters, in-villa dining and spa services, private terraces, a separate sitting area, luxury bathrooms and more. Phase three will also include an adults-only pool and a children´s pool area, both with water slides. We hear plans for a full service spa and fitness center are also in the works for 2014.
AMResorts is poised for a boom year in 2013. It was revealed at a press conference during the Tianguis that the brand is slated to open 20 hotels in the coming years to up their portfolio to 52 hotels. Last year saw the debut of six new hotels, including two in destinations new to the brand (Cozumel and Costa Rica).
Looking forward, projects currently in construction include the Now Onyx Punta Cana, which will debut in November 2013 with 750 rooms; the Secrets Los Cabos, with 500 rooms slated to open in December 2013; and Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica, set to open in November 2014 with 446 rooms. AMResorts is also on track to launch Breathless Resorts & Spas, an adults-only brand, similar to Secrets, but with a focus more on the “daring” travel, as opposed to romance. The first of these resorts are expected to open this year.