Mexico’s Comeback

A suite at Starwood’s recently launched Aloft Cancun

A suite at Starwood’s recently launched Aloft Cancun.


In 2013, Mexico made a major comeback, overcoming the challenges suffered by the tourism industry in 2012. Going into 2014, the outlook is even brighter for our neighbor to the south. Here is a look at what is to come.

Hotels on Tap

Los Cabos currently has 12,000 hotel rooms, with the majority located in Cabo San Lucas. This year, two new hotels opened in the destination, including El Ganzo and Hotel Hyatt Place. Looking ahead, the destination is readying to welcome Secrets Puerto Los Cabos; a Ritz-Carlton Reserve; and the JW Marriott Los Cabos, which will open in 2015. Golfers can look forward to the opening of Quivira Los Cabos, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course at the Quivira residential development in Los Cabos; and El Cardonal at Diamante, designed by Tiger Woods.

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In Acapulco, Mundo Imperial has renewed its investment of $27 million in the construction of EXPO Mundo Imperial. Completion is scheduled for 2014. It will include an 800-suite resort, open-air promenade, world-class spa and a concert hall. 

Marriott International has plans to operate 20 hotels across Mexican cities by 2016. The first six hotels will add about 800 rooms to the Mexican market. Marriott is teaming up with FibraHotel to develop the properties. The pipeline of properties includes the Los Cabos, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve; JW Marriott Cabo San Lucas Resort; Courtyard by Marriott hotels in Hermosillo, Los Cabos and Queretaro; Fairfield Inn Queretaro; and AC Hotel Mexico City.

Club Med has announced a $14 million renovation for the Club Med Cancun Yucatan. The redevelopment plan includes 60 new beachfront family accommodations, two redesigned and expanded restaurants, a new Petit Club Med for children ages 2-3 and a modernized guest lounge.

In December, the Iberostar Playa Mita opened as Iberostar’s first resort on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. It is part of the Premium Gold collection. Built into a cliff, 120 of the rooms are oceanfront. There is also an infinity pool, several gourmet restaurants, golf course, and a new room category: Spa Rooms. These 18 units each have their own private spa and treatments are included in the rate. 

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The Hilton Santa Fe/Mexico City will open in March 2014. It will have 260 guest rooms, a restaurant, lobby lounge, rooftop pool, bar and fitness center.

Starwood plans to expand its portfolio in the destination by 30 percent. In the upper-scale segment there are eight new hotels in the pipeline that will add almost 1,100 rooms. There are 24 Starwood hotels in Latin America, including the recently launched Aloft brand, which made its debut in Cancun. Hotels under development include the W Santa Fe, with views of the Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl volcanoes; W Kanai Retreat, Riviera Maya; the St. Regis Kanai Resort, Riviera Maya; and Frida Kahlo Guadalajara, A Luxury Collection hotel. In the next three years Starwood will open four brand hotels, including two new Aloft hotels in Merida, Guadalajara and two Four Points by Sheraton hotels in Queretaro and Cancun.

New Air Service

Aeromexico will provide new seasonal services from New York City to Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta as of January. As of January 16 and 18, Aeromexico will operate flights to Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos, respectively.

New air service on scheduled and charter flights will increase routes to Puerto Vallarta International Airport from Lansing, St. Louis, Rockford, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Denver, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg. As a result, an estimated 105,000 new seats are expected to come online within the next year. The airport serves both destinations since the state of Nayarit is just 10 minutes from this important international gateway.

Mazatlan is in negotiation with airlines to launch new routes from Seattle, Houston, Denver, Atlanta and Chicago. Spring 2014, it is expected that there will be an additional 40 percent more flights.

As of April 3, Lufthansa will serve Mexico City five times a week from Munich, in addition to the daily flight from Frankfurt. 

By the Numbers

According to reports from the San Jose del Cabo International Airport, Los Cabos has welcomed approximately 1.2 million national and international visitors in 2013 from all across North America. 

Acapulco hosted more than 9 million visitors annually and of this, 80 percent are domestic tourists and 20 percent are international tourists, with a majority hailing from the US and Canada.

Mexico City saw 9.2 million visitors in 2013, 82 percent domestic and 18 percent international. Of the international visitors, 85 percent were from the US. Overall tourism revenues were approximately $3.1 billion. Looking ahead, Mexico City anticipates 12 million tourist arrivals, as well as overall tourism revenue of $4.2 billion.

Destination Weddings Rising

The most recent Destination Weddings Study from and The Wedding Channel, released in 2012, showed that Mexico was the destination of choice for nearly one in four couples, second only to the Caribbean, among those who opted for a wedding outside the continental U.S.—and it’s trending higher. Destination weddings in Mexico are increasing at a rate of about 20 percent per year, so you can be sure that 2014 will be another big year for couples looking to spend dollars to tie the knot south of the border. The Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau, for one, is reporting a 20 percent increase in the number of destination weddings in 2013 over 2012.