2018 was a busy year for Mexico travel. Security concerns may have dominated many of the headlines, including a shooting on a Cancun tourist beach, the shooting of a gay man in Puerto Vallarta, an explosion on a Cozumel ferry, and the reorganization of the State Department’s system of travel advisories. Nevertheless, the destination still posted strong tourism numbers, and a number of new hotels and resorts either opened or were announced.
Here’s a look at the top 10 stories on news you can use now:
In hotel news, Karisma Hotels & Resorts’ new flagship property for its Nickelodeon-branded hotels, the Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya, drew plenty of interest this year. According to the latest update from Karisma, the property is now set for a 2020 opening. You can read our latest preview here.
In terms of raw numbers, this year was a strong one for tourism in Cancun. The Easter holiday period in particular was a record-setter, when the destination saw 2.8 million airport arrivals, up 14.5 percent over the previous year.
Mexico as a whole also posted some strong tourism numbers in 2018. A record 10.6 million tourists visited the country in the first quarter, up 12.6 percent over the same period last year.
Finally, in boutique hotel news, this year Cancun got a new boutique property in the form of Haven Resorts Cancun, which opened in the fall. Approximately nine miles from the Cancun International Airport, the 333-room, adults-only property offers a 24-hour concierge, five restaurants, two snack bars and a total of nine bars and a spa.
Los Cabos also drew attention this year for its luxury hotels, with the Montage Los Cabos winning the honor of "most anticipated luxury hotel opening" of the year from our sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor. The honor was part of this year's Awards of Excellence, which were bestowed based on votes by top luxury travel advisors at our ULTRA Summit in Palm Beach, FL. The Montage Los Cabos opened in June with 122 earth-toned rooms, suites and casitas, all of which are at least 895 square feet and with at least partial ocean views.
2018 was the 20th anniversary for Iberostar Hotels & Resorts' operations in Mexico. To honor the occasion, the company's VP of sales and marketing, John Long, spoke with us on the evolution of the all-inclusive resort and where the sector was headed next. He also shared some details on the company's newest project in Mexico, which just opened this year: the Iberostar Cancun Star Prestige, a new luxury, adults-only tower at the company's Cancun resort.
2018 was a big year for AMResorts, both in Mexico and beyond. Fresh of the merger of its parent company Apple Leisure Group with The Mark Travel Corporation, AMResorts continued to expand, which included the launch of a new, all-inclusive brand in Mexico: Reflect Resorts & Spas. Developed with Grupo Hotelero Santa Fe, AMResorts signed a deal to co-brand three existing hotels under the Krystal Grand brand with Reflect in Punta Cancun, Los Cabos and Nuevo Vallarta.
In another good sign for tourism, Cancun retained its spot as the number one international destination for summer travel, according to statistics compiled by travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance. San Jose del Cabo also made the list, at number five.
In another big hotel deal, this year saw Hilton sign a partnership with Playa Hotels & Resorts to expand its all-inclusive portfolio. As part of the agreement, Hilton added the Hilton La Romana, an All-inclusive Resort, and Hilton Playa del Carmen, an All-inclusive Resort to its portfolio, with plans to add an additional eight all-inclusive properties by 2025.