CANCUN, MEXICO– Travel Agent concludes its coverage of the Cancun Travel Mart Mexico Summit 2008 with news and notes from the suppliers and buyers who attended this year’s successful event. According to the final numbers presented by the Cancun Hotel Association, the event attracted 102 supplier companies and 273 supplier delegates as well as 124 buyer companies and 225 buyer delegates.
Cancun and Spring Break, A Thing of the Past
A hurricane in 1988 was responsible for the birth of the Spring Break phenomenon in Cancun and it was a hurricane in 2005 that washed it away. Travel Agent sat down with Emilio Reyner Portes Gil, director of public relations for the Cancun Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and got the fascinating story of the rise and fall of the Spring Break market in Cancun.
According to Gil, it was Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 that devastated all of the hotels in Cancun and, in turn, scared away every possible market except one, the Spring Break travelers. “In many ways, they saved us,” Gil told us. “But as time went on, we also found that they were drawing all other markets away.”
That was of course until Hurricane Wilma again swept away most of Cancun’s hotel product in 2005. But this time, instead of simply rebuilding, the hotels stepped it up a notch and upgraded as well. Now, with most hotels leaning toward the luxury side of the market (about 80 percent of all Cancun hotels are now five-star in rating), the hotels were shutting out most of the Spring Break clients. And, as Gil told us, it was a great thing for the destination and for travel agents.
Whereas agents were booking packages for about $350-$400 for Spring Break clients, they were soon booking packages of at least $1,200 for families looking for a luxury experience. Now, the Spring Break market has shrunk so much that the market reached its lowest in 2007 than it had been since it first surfaced in 1998. According to Gil, Spring Break guests made up as much as eight percent of all of Cancun’s annual visitors from 1988 to about 2005.
And now? Of the roughly 3.2 million people who visited the destination in 2007, only a mere one percent were Spring Breakers. “The only problem is that not enough people know of this,” Gil told us. “They still think of Spring Break when they think of Cancun and the industry needs to be aware that it is not that way anymore. We still welcome [Spring Break clients] but now we are attracting markets that were scared away for some time. And that’s a good thing for Cancun and even a better thing for travel agents.”
Exclusive: Campeche Eyes Fairmont, Westin
Earlier in the year, we told you about the unknown Mexico destination of Merida and now we’re giving you heads up on a destination about two hours away, Campeche. The destination, like Merida, offers access to many of Mexico’s greatest archeological sites, eco-travel opportunities and beautiful beaches. The one attribute it has lacked, however, was major resort developments until now. The first part of the three-phase Campeche Playa Golf, Marina, Spa & Resort is expected to be completed within the first three months of 2009. That phase will include the completion of a 500-room hotel.
More importantly, the project has created a buzz from some big name hotel players such as Fairmont and Westin,
according to a source close to Campeche tourism. Our source told us the
destination is in discussions with both companies but talks are still
in the preliminary phase. We’ll bring you the confirmed news as soon as
we get it. Until then, learn more of this family-friendly destination